31 SES 13 B, Language Issues in Science and Mathematics Education
The study presented aims at investigating the meaning of texts as resources for learning in science education at secondary school. Here, this means focus on the interrelation of knowledge in vocabulary and ability to comprehend a science text, in a multilingual school setting at grade nine. The study is a part of a larger-scale project, Science and Literacy Teaching (2014-2017).
Even if vocabulary strength predicts the speed and security with which students learn the meanings of unfamiliar words, the students’ knowledge of words grows less through any process of inferring their meanings, one by one, based on the sentences in which they arise, than as a product of learning more generally about the contexts in which they arise (Axelsson, 2002). Consequently, students need to read lots of complex texts – texts that offer them new language, new knowledge and new modes of thoughts. As Hirsch puts it, reading deficit is integrally tied to knowledge deficit (Hirsch, 2011). Ability to read and understand texts in science could also be considered to be important from a variety of democratic perspectives (Cobern, 2005).
Design A quantitative approach for the assessment of vocabulary knowledge has been used, as well as a qualitative approach for evaluating the students’ text response. Hypothetically, bottom up-readers were considered to have a well-developed vocabulary without being strong readers (of the text as a whole), while top down-readers were regarded not to have a very well developed vocabulary but instead good understanding of the text; the design opens for an analysis of the correlation between developed vocabulary and text movability, considering the categories 'text based movability', 'associative text movability' and 'interactive text movability' (Liberg et al., 2011). A digital test format in ”google forms” was used for collecting empirical data. It consisted of a text of 630 words from a textbook in natural sciences (about sustainability), that students from four classes from two different schools started by reading. Two parts with questions were included, one part testing text movability and one testing vocabulary knowledge. Two versions of the test were available. In one of them the text movability questions were preceding the vocabulary test and in the other the order was reversed.
Findings Several groups of students possessing different abilities were found. The four largest groups consisted of 1) students who were successful in text comprehension and vocabulary, 2) students who weren’t successful in either, 3) students who were successful in text comprehension but not vocabulary and finally 4) students who were successful in vocabulary but not in text comprehension. More specifically, when comparing interrelation in performance in the two parts of the test, the text movability part was splitted into three variables and a summative scale ranging from 0-15 was used to describe performance in the vocabulary test. The three text movability variables were 'text based text movability' (where students basically could explain what the text is about), 'associative text movability' (where students’ could draw some conclusions from what they have read, by associating to the text content) and 'interactive text movability' (where students could draw conclusions and position themselves in relation to the text content). Our general conclusions on interrelations between the three variables and vocabulary knowledge consist of a scale where the strongest correlation was found between 'text based text movability' and vocabulary, and the weakest between 'interactive text movability' and vocabulary. The variable 'associative text movability' and vocabulary ended up somewhere in between. Relevance Students in secondary school are expected to possess knowledge in literacy achieved from primary school, that enable them to understand texts from a variety of domains – a knowledge they might not have. Therefore, it is important to increase knowledge about how texts are being approached and understood in science, by students in secondary school.
References: Axelsson, M. (2002). Den röda tråden. Utvärdering av Stockholms stads storstadssatsning – målområde språkutveckling och skolresultat. Stockholm: Språkforskningsinstitutet. Cobern, W. (2005), Beyond Cartesian Dualism. Encountering Affect in the Teaching and Learning of Science. Dordrecht: Springer. Hirsch, E. D. (2011). Beyond comprehension. In American Educator (p. 30-36). Liberg, C., af Geijerstam, Å., Folkeryd, J. (2011). Scientific Literacy and Students’ Movability in Science Texts. In C. Linder et al. (Ed.) Exploring the Landscape of Scientific Literacy (pp. 74-89). New York: Routledge.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
The programme is updated regularly (each day in the morning)
- Search for keywords and phrases in "Text Search"
- Restrict in which part of the abstracts to search in "Where to search"
- Search for authors and in the respective field.
- For planning your conference attendance you may want to use the conference app, which will be issued some weeks before the conference
- If you are a session chair, best look up your chairing duties in the conference system (Conftool) or the app.