How Teaching Practices Are Connected to Student Intention to Enrol in Upper Secondary School Physics Courses
Research in Science & Technological Education Volume 34, Number 2, ISSN 0263-5143
Background: In developed countries, it is challenging for teachers to select pedagogical practices that encourage students to enrol in science and technology courses in upper secondary school. Purpose: Aiming to understand the enrolment dynamics, this study analyses sample-based data from Finland's National Assessment in Science to determine whether pedagogical approaches influence student intention to enrol in upper secondary school physics courses. Sample: This study examined a clustered sample of 2949 Finnish students in the final year of comprehensive school (15-16 years old). Methods: Through explorative factor analysis, we extracted several variables that were expected to influence student intention to enrol in physics courses. We applied partial correlation to determine the underlying interdependencies of the variables. Results: The analysis revealed that the main predictor of enrolment in upper secondary school physics courses is whether students feel that physics is important. Although statistically significant, partial correlations between variables were rather small. However, the analysis of partial correlations revealed that pedagogical practices influence inquiry and attitudinal factors. Pedagogical practices that emphasise science experimentation and the social construction of knowledge had the strongest influence. Conclusions: The research implies that to increase student enrolment in physics courses, the way students interpret the subject's importance needs to be addressed, which can be done by the pedagogical practices of discussion, teacher demonstrations, and practical work.
Juuti, K. & Lavonen, J. (2016). How Teaching Practices Are Connected to Student Intention to Enrol in Upper Secondary School Physics Courses. Research in Science & Technological Education, 34(2), 204-218.