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© University of Reading 2008www.reading.ac.uk Institute of Education Is secure subject knowledge obvious? Jane Fieldsend & John Oversby.

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Presentation on theme: "© University of Reading 2008www.reading.ac.uk Institute of Education Is secure subject knowledge obvious? Jane Fieldsend & John Oversby."— Presentation transcript:

1 © University of Reading 2008www.reading.ac.uk Institute of Education Is secure subject knowledge obvious? Jane Fieldsend & John Oversby

2 ATSE Secure Subject Knowledge: Jane Fieldsend & John Oversby Overview Issues of characterising Subject Knowledge Choices of methodology Range and focus Alternative views Investigation Data Interpretation Next steps

3 ATSE Secure Subject Knowledge: Jane Fieldsend & John Oversby Issues of Characterising Subject Knowledge Teacher Standards require ‘secure subject knowledge’ Embodied within degree requirements (2ii or better)? Ill-explored relationship between SK and teaching Wallace and Louden (Dilemmas of Science Teaching, 2002) claim SK critically influences pedagogy. (p217) with references ‘Teaching out of field’ (TooF) implies it is an issue. TooF has a negative effect on confidence, self-esteem and pedagogical range Avoiding TooF is an aim of many secondary teachers (and primary?) TooF perceived by teachers to affect engagement of learners

4 ATSE Secure Subject Knowledge: Jane Fieldsend & John Oversby Choices of methodology Standard test: –from external assessment –designed for the research Problem-solving requiring appropriate SK Practical assessments –Water in beaker –Copper and sulphuric acid Interviews about knowledge Chose Higher Tier GCSE questions to cover range of SK

5 ATSE Secure Subject Knowledge: Jane Fieldsend & John Oversby Range and focus Biology, chemistry and physics content All above recall Marked according to mark scheme (and checked by students) Focus on understanding and application

6 ATSE Secure Subject Knowledge: Jane Fieldsend & John Oversby Alternative views All SK is pedagogical SK is attested by degree (Gove) SK comes with experience

7 ATSE Secure Subject Knowledge: Jane Fieldsend & John Oversby Investigation At course start and end, a paper of higher level GCSE Biology questions (2 hours) and a paper of higher level GCSE Chemistry/Physics questions (2 hours) Questions marked by students as part of SK audit, and remarked by tutors, using examination mark scheme. Noted that biology questions were often poorly marked (by all) compared with chemistry and physics questions.

8 ATSE Secure Subject Knowledge: Jane Fieldsend & John Oversby Data I (at course start) Data set includes 3 others included in the total. Data are mean%

9 ATSE Secure Subject Knowledge: Jane Fieldsend & John Oversby9 Biology questions Chemistry questions Physics questions % % % Biologists (42)75.3 (61.3) 74.0 (51.3)57.8 (38.8) Chemists (17) 83.7 (58.3) 93.1 (75.6) 88.0 (53.6 Physicists (13) 77.2 (56.6) 90.0 (61.2) 95.2 (71.9) Totals (74) Overall mean mark is 76.4% 9 Data (post audit)

10 ATSE Secure Subject Knowledge: Jane Fieldsend & John Oversby Data II (at year end) All SK improves - it seems that teaching helps Physicists reach very good on Physics questions, good on Chemistry and satisfactory to good on Biology Chemists reach very good on Chemistry questions, and good to very good on Physics, and good on Biology Biologists reach good on Biology, and remain poor on Physics and Chemistry

11 ATSE Secure Subject Knowledge: Jane Fieldsend & John Oversby Interpretation Degree grade is not a good indicator of ability with GCSE questions at course start. SK quality (as per GCSE questions) is generally weak to satisfactory at course start, even in Specialism, across the board Physicists became adequate in Biology GCSE and good in Chemistry by course end. Chemists were the best all round by course end. Perhaps the subject titles are proxy for quantitative capability

12 ATSE Secure Subject Knowledge: Jane Fieldsend & John Oversby Next steps Assess A level questions and compare with degree grades Seek data on perceptions of SK importance from pre-service teachers, Head teachers, Heads of science, science teachers, parents and young learners.


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