Title

Exploring the differences in chemistry achievements of secondary school students across school system and gender in Quetta, Pakistan

Date of Award

2013

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Master of Education (M. Ed.)

Department

Professional Development Centre, Karachi

Abstract

This study aimed to explore academic achievements of secondary school students in Chemistry across schools systems and gender. A newly developed and validated instrument - Chemistry Achievement Test (CAT)-was used for collection of the data. CAT comprised 35 items (25 multiple response questions and 10 constructed response questions). CAT encompassed four content domains of Chemistry; fundamental chemistry, physical state and particulate structure of matter, periodic table and periodicity of elements, and acids, bases & solutions, extracted from National curriculum for secondary classes. Furthermore, items were categorized on three cognitive domains; knowledge, application, and reasoning. CAT was administered to 374 grade 10 students who were randomly selected from public (n=6) and private (n=6) schools of Quetta, Pakistan. A total of 190 (50.8%) boys and 184 (49.2%) girls participated in the research study. Results demonstrated that the students scored only 30% of the total score exhibiting a weak conceptual understanding in the selected concepts of chemistry. Comparison across school systems favored private school students (p<0.01). Of the four content domains students from private schools have performed significantly better than students from public schools in physical state and particulate structure of matter (p<0.001). Of the three cognitive domains students from private schools performed significantly better than students from public schools in reasoning (p<0.01). Furthermore, gender comparison depicted that girls outperformed their boys counterparts (p<0.001). Of the four content domains girls performed significantly better (p<0.001 for all three) than boys in three content domains except periodic table and periodicity of elements. Of the three cognitive domains the girls performed significantly better than the boys (p<0.001 for all three). Using CAT students' conceptual understanding can be explored as well as their corresponding teachers which might lead to enable researchers to find out the impact of teachers' conceptual understanding in students achievement in Chemistry. The study also generates opportunities for further research in the area of students’ learning outcomes in secondary schools.

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