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Interdisciplinary test in science: Teachers´ challenges with new interdisciplinary science in Denmark

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NFSUN 2021 Aarhus

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VIA University College

Interdisciplinary test in science

- Teachers´ challenges with new interdisciplinary science in Denmark

- Lars Brian Krogh (labk@via.dk) - Peer Daugbjerg (pd@via.dk)

(2)

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Research on interdisciplinarity and test in science

2016-pilot: VIA-research of test among volunteer-teachers

→ The research we presented at NFSUN 2017 and published in Nordina 2018

2017-2021: Systematic assessment and research:

 Collaboration

 Commissioned by Ministery of Education (STUK)

→ danish reports & publications

→ departure for todays talk

UCC Ram-

bøll

VIA

(PfMND)

(3)

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Interdisciplinary Interdisciplinary Interdisciplinary

Interdisciplinary science in DK science in DK science in DK science in DK

 The exam

Projectbased preparation – several weeks

Problembased framing

Focus areas drawn by lot

Working questions

Oral examination

 The teaching

Competencebased aims – both knowlegde and skills

Investigation

Modelling

Perspectivation

Communication

Example:

Sustainable energy supply – locally and

globally

(4)

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Research question

 What challenges experience danish teachers in relation to implement an interdisciplinary agenda in lower socendary school?

(5)

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Method & empirical basis

Who is asked? Number of responses (response%) Teachers

(physics/chemistry, biology and geography)

781 (73%)

Managers 295 (86%)

Students (pre-survey) 10299 (58%) Students (post-survey) 4267 (24%)

Surveys: stratified sample with 342 sschools

Qualitative case-school-empiry:

7 case-schools, diverse sample.

2 visit days at each school: testpreparation period + test day.

Observation of teaching and test (36 testgroups).

Interviews with teacher teams, management, student focusgroups, debriefing of examinators and censors.

Primary option for triangulation

(6)

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Resultats

Identified challenges

In overview:

 Challenges in relation to teacher knowledge and attitudes

 Challenges in relation to implementation of interdisciplinary teaching

The interdisciplinarity

The problembased approach

The competenceoriented approach

 (Evt.) challenges related to the test itself and the type of assessment

(7)

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Teacher knowledge and attitudes

Positive aspects

Fundamentally positive teacher attitude to the

interdisciplinary test!

Neat average teacher self- efficacy to be able to handle

the challenges

Approx. 15 % gives predominantly negative

response

P-C teachers and teachers teaching more science subjects has the highest

self-efficacy

(8)

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Teacher attitudes Teacher attitudes Teacher attitudes

Teacher attitudes – – – – 2018 2018 2018 2018

 74% af the teachers address, that ”the interdisciplinary exam gives cause for concern”

Pupils are sometimes left with the responsibility of creating the integration of the science subjects

 Different types of concern

Shortage of time

Subject matter knowledge

Assessment of as well students monoscience competencies as their interdiscilplinary science competencies.

‘destruction’ of the subject

As it is known to the teachers

”meaningfull, if it was an extra subject, if there were allocated time to it”

”For the first time.. in my science, I feel me a little … science

incompetent, right”

”It comes mainly to deal with the problem instead of experiments or science”

P-C ”trivializes our subject area!”

(9)

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Teacher motivation Teacher motivation Teacher motivation

Teacher motivation ---- 2020 2020 2020 2020

Teacher concern relates to

- Interdisciplinary science is an add-on with no compensating time

- Lacking teacher competences

- Interdisciplinarity compromise the individual science subjects (biologi, geography and physics/chemistry)

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Teacher motivation Teacher motivation Teacher motivation

Teacher motivation ---- 2020 2020 2020 2020

 It can be challenging establishing a thorough interdisciplinarity

 Several teachers express concern regarding the balance between interdisciplinarity and single/mono science

subjects

 Some teachers are sceptical towards the interdisciplinary exam

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Teacher motivation Teacher motivation Teacher motivation

Teacher motivation ---- 2020 2020 2020 2020

 Teachers positive towards the intentions

 Some teachers find the collaboration rewarding, motivating and educative

 School leaders distribute the development and

implementation to the teachers – school leaders trust in their teachers

Reorganisation of time schedules

Meeting in science teacher teams

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Challenges related to interdisciplinarrity

To work interdisciplinary with a problem as focus

It often becomes multidisciplinary rather than interdisciplinary

Longer periods with parallel teaching – evt. with a common theme

Short periods/one day with subject-crossing problembased work

To make science subjects coherent and reach out to the world

NB: Student utterances

(13)

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Challenges related to interdisciplinarrity

The typical teaching sequence

”We start the up with them in two weeks, so fairly teacher guided where we

elaborate what it is all about… what is exciting. Then they run it independently for two-three weeks, and then we have the last week where we do some assessment”

”If we now take energy as an example. Interdisciplinary subject. Well, then we have had about It in biology, and we have had about in physics, and we have had about in geography separately. … and then we join it that day and say … from that you

have learned, now we shall join it together.”

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Teacher attitudes – 2018

- a common topic rather than a common problem

NB: Some has marked

more than one.

Total>100%

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Challenges in relation to the problembased approach

Consistent and student-governed problems

To let the students actually work out and pursue their own problems

”we say that the problem is the same for all, that is actually what we have done… in ninth grade in five of these focus areas of the teaching sequences they have had, it is first in sixth that they phrase their own problem”

“the students have been very positive in relation to the work with these interdisciplinary focus areas … they have really taken on in a positive way I feel. Also even our if it was our problem, and even if it was not their own … basically it was ours”

Taxonomically problems – but the science work questions is often not consistent or aligned.

(16)

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Challenges in relation to competence orientation

Teachers on their competence-focus

Teacher: ”really these four comptences, that we are so proud of, them have we had all along. It is nothing new. We have always had them.”

Teacher: ”well, we consider, that they sort of comes in by the backdoor. We don’t use any time on them at all”

Teacher: ”well we have shown them [students], them [competences] there four they will be tested in and likewise. And then we dont have talked about it since.”

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Challenges in relation to competence orientation

Lacking competence-focus in relation to the test

Investigation and modelling competence is not demonstrated or tested

Lacking meta-perspectives – on what models and/or invesitgation is, can and cannot.

Lacking proces performance – prefabricata and use use of experiments and models as support for explanantion.

”… with some years experience, then we will be sharper on it [science competences]. It takes, that I myself is very exact at addressing them … that I have been in the end of my teaching this year.” (Teacher post-reflection on the test)

The challenge: Competence-orientated teaching requires, that the competences are addressed, described as aims, thought into the progression, rehearsed and formatively assessed!!!

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Particular challenges in relation to the interdisciplinary test-format

Multiple testforms – and testbias

8 7

6

4 3

0 1

7

4

8

0 2 4 6 8 10

2 4 7 10 12

Kønsopdelt karakterfordeling for case-skoleelever til prøven

drenge piger

An issue that science has two tests – and two sets of test criteria

An issue to scaffold the test-preparing work, so that you avoid new types of testbias

”You see It is typically the boys, who aint that mature, that can have a hard time. For them projectwork can really be quite a thing” (Teacher)

”Many of them, that are strong at structuring their work and are good at getting started, they got more out of it”

(Teacher)

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Teacher attitude Teacher attitude Teacher attitude

Teacher attitude ---- 2020 2020 2020 2020

A significant gap between boys and girls are observed in the grades – in favor of the girls

 Teachers expect boys to be less structured than the girls and thereby doesn’t benefit from the several weeks

long preparation period.

 Teachers guidance doesn’t even out this difference in expectation.

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