Hide/Show Apps

The effect of problem-based learning on the elementary students' achievement in genetics

Download
2007
Araz, Gülsüm
The purpose of the study is to investigate the relative effect of problem-based learning (PBL) and traditionally designed science instruction (TDSI) on students’ academic achievement and performance skills in the unit of genetics after controlling for students’ prior knowledge, prior performance skills, reasoning ability, and learning approach. The sample consisted of 192 eight grade students from a public elementary school in Ankara. Four classes instructed by two science teachers were randomly assigned as experimental and control groups. The experimental group students were taught the subject through PBL, while the control group students received the TDSI. Students in experimental group dealt with ill-structured problems based on real-life working in small groups and individually. On the other hand, students in control group received an instruction based on teacher explanations and textbooks. Genetics Achievement Test, Test of Logical Thinking, and Learning Approach Questionnaire were administered as pre-tests to students in both groups to determine their prior knowledge and prior performance skills, reasoning ability, and learning approach, respectively. After the treatment, Genetics Achievement Test was administered again as a post-test to compare the effectiveness of PBL and TDSI on students’ achievement and performance skills in Genetics. Multivariate Analysis of Covariance (MANCOVA) was used to investigate the effect of problem based learning and traditionally designed science instruction on students’ academic achievement and performance skills in Genetics when students’ prior knowledge, prior performance skills, logical thinking abilities and learning approaches are controlled. Results of the study revealed that students in PBL classes had higher mean scores on Genetics Achievement Test developed to measure academic achievement and performance skills in the unit of genetics. Therefore, the PBL students appeared to be better compared to the TDSI students in terms of genetics understanding and at using relevant information in addressing the problem, articulating uncertainties, organizing concepts, and interpreting information.