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Format of the Initial Study
I would like to interview (under the current circumstances using video call) learners in lower secondary school (years seven and eight), preferably in two groups – before and after they have completed some work on electricity. The interview would consist of asking the learners to “think aloud” through some questions from the test. There is a total of thirty questions, but for the interest of time and learner concentration, I would ask each learner five questions. After they have answered all the questions, I would go through the answers with them, if they wanted.
The central purposes of these interviews will be to ensure learners understand the questions as intended and to listen to their reasoning in answering them. Although this test has been used in large scale studies in Germany and Austria, this will be the first implementation after translation into English. I expect the ideas common in everyday English to affect the way learners think about electricity and therefore result in learner answers not present in German. The purpose of the interviews would be to find those student answers unique to the English language and redevelop the test to reflect those if needed.
Medium Term Aim
Once the questions have been reformulated after the interview process is complete, I will build them into an online test. The online test can be used by teachers to student centre their further teaching. The test will generate a code that can be sent to teachers, who input it into a spreadsheet. This spreadsheet analyses the common misconceptions that learners have and that persist even after teaching and recommends strategies for dealing with them. The learner also receives feedback in the form of “badges”, which show their understanding in each topic. The results of this online questionnaire will be used anonymously for research to look at the differences in every day uses of scientific language, comparing results from English speaking countries and German speaking countries.
Long Term Aim
Once the test has been implemented on a larger scale, the aim is to make it the core of a knowledge and understanding test. This test will form part of a study that would compare two courses of work for teaching electric circuits with the same structure, one with and one without an oracy focus. This study aims to present robust data assessing the oracy approach on knowledge acquisition, verbal reasoning, scientific thinking and scientific literacy in a quantitative form that is hard to argue with for policy implementation. This study would also follow learners through the learning process to qualitatively explore their scientific language and knowledge acquisition and mastery, to further inform practice.