Online Assessment of Scientific Reasoning Skills and Motivation to Learn Science among Grade 5 and 7 Students in Northern Namibia

Linus Kambeyo, Benő Csapó

Abstract


This study aimed to assess students’ scientific reasoning skills using an online assessment method and explore the relationship between their reasoning skills and motivation to learn science. Research participants were 270 Grade 5 and 346 Grade 7 students in the Oshana region of Namibia. The online reasoning skills test consisted of 36 items with 16 tasks assessing conservation, proportional, correlational and probabilistic reasoning, and logical operations in a science context. The five point Likert scale Science Motivation Questionnaire II consisted of 25 items with five subscales. Tasks were developed within and delivered by the eDia platform via the Internet. The reliability of the reasoning skills test was acceptable (Cronbach’s alpha=.74), and it was very good for the Science Motivation Questionnaire (Cronbach’s alpha=.91). The reasoning skill tasks were moderately difficult for the students: M=40.56%; SD=13.47%. One-parameter Rasch analyses showed that there were few items to differentiate students at the low skill levels. Task analysis showed major obstacles in students’ reasoning skills for science learning. Students reported that they were moderately motivated to learn science. A weak correlation was found between the tested scientific reasoning skills and motivation to learn science (r=.21, p<.01). The study suggests that the basic ICT infrastructures in Namibian schools should be improved to exploit the advantages of online assessment.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/jse.v9i4.15598

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