A CROSS-COUNTRY STUDY ON THE EFFECTIVENESS OF INQUIRY-BASED AND TRADITIONAL DIDACTIC APPROACHES

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Institutionen för pedagogik och specialpedagogik

Abstract: Aim : In past decades, teacher practices in science teaching have changed from perceived traditional ways of teaching to more inquiry-based approaches. The driving force behind this change is the assumption of inquiry-based approach being more effective in terms of student science achievement than the traditional didactic approach. This study aims to examine the extent of these two approaches in a cross-country perspective. Moreover, it investigates the effectiveness of these two instructional approaches on student science achievement.Theory : Cognitive Load Theory (CLT) proposed by Sweller suggests that learning happens best under conditions that are aligned with human cognitive architecture. According to CLT, instructional design principles must be based on our knowledge of the brain and memory. CLT was used to ground the assumption that is investigated in this thesis.Method : Single level Structural Equation Modelling (SEM) modelling is used to identify the relationship between two latent constructs of instructional approaches and student science achievement while Socio- economic status (SES) and student confidence (CON) are used as statistical controls. This study used 8th grade dataset in Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) 2015 by performing statistical analyses in Mplus version 8.2 software together with IBM SPSS Statistics 25.Results : Findings across 12 countries indicate no clear evidence in favour of neither both instructional approaches, with the exception of the results from Italy in which the traditional didactic approach is found to be negatively influencing student science achievement, explaining 21% of the variance in achievement.

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