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Integrated and Subject-specific: An empirical exploration of Science education in Swedish compulsory school
Linköping University, Department of Social and Welfare Studies. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2007 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis is an explorative experimental study in two parts of different ways of organising Science education in the Swedish context. The first study deals with the question if students attain higher scores on test results if they have been working with integrated Science compared to subject-specific Science i.e. Biology, Chemistry and Physics. The second study concerns the similarities and differences between integrated Science education and Science education in Biology, Chemistry and Physics, especially in the teaching organisation.

The introduction describes the nature of integrated curriculum, what integrated learning is, issues about integrated Science education, in what way integration is carried out, between subjects or within subjects, what the opposite to integrated Science is (here named as subjectspecific science education) in the Swedish context and what the Swedish curriculum has to say about integrated Science. Previous studies in integrated curriculum looking at students’ results are referred to, and it is argued for the use of the OECD’s PISA assessment instrument in this study.

The thesis consists of two studies, one quantitative and one qualitative, within the above framework. The quantitative study is an attempt to find differences in scores on students’ written results on a large-scale assessment in scientific literacy between students studying in different organisations of Science education. The qualitative study is an attempt to describe differences at classroom level between integrated Science and subject-specific Science. This gives a quite rich description of four schools (cases) in a small town and how they organise their teaching integrated or subject-specific.

No differences in students’ results between different Science organisations were found in the quantitative study in this thesis. Possible explanations for the lack of differences in students’ results are discussed in the article. An additional investigation that attempts to test the variable used in the quantitative study is carried out in the thesis, with an attempt to sharpen the teacher organisation variable. This is done to find out if it is possible that there can be found differences with the sharpened variable.

The qualitative study gives a glimpse of some differences in the implemented curriculum between schools working with integrated Science education and a school that works subjectspecifically. The teachers do the overall lesson plans in different ways according to which organisation according to integrated or subject-specific Science they work with. When asked in a survey what kind of Science organisation they have, students from the four schools studied answered differently between schools and also, sometimes, within the same school. A further analysis of this second study is carried out by defining a conceptual framework used as structure and a possible explanation for differences between students’ views and teachers’ views on the organisation of Science education. This latter analysis tries to give an enriched description in mainly the two levels of the implemented and attained curricula, and tries to discuss the difference in students’ attained curriculum.

A final discussion concludes the thesis and concerns an elaboration of the results of the thesis, problems with the main variable involved in the two studies and the possibility that the teacher actions effects also the magnitude of students’ achievement on tests.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press , 2007. , 43 p.
, Studies in Scence and Technology Education, ISSN 1652-5051 ; 5
Keyword [en]
Science education, international studies, PISA, curriculum integration
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-15343ISBN: 978-91-85715-59-6OAI: diva2:114055
O114, Mittuniversitetet, Härnösand (Swedish)
Available from: 2008-11-11 Created: 2008-11-04 Last updated: 2009-03-09Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Using hierarchical linear models to test differences in Swedish results from OECD’sPISA 2003: Integrated and subject-specific science education
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Using hierarchical linear models to test differences in Swedish results from OECD’sPISA 2003: Integrated and subject-specific science education
2007 (English)In: NorDiNa: Nordic Studies in Science Education, ISSN 1504-4556, E-ISSN 1894-1257, Vol. 3, no 2, 121-131 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The possible effects of different organisations of the science curriculum in schools participating in PISA 2003 are tested with a hierarchical linear model (HLM) of two levels. The analysis is based on science results. Swedish schools are free to choose how they organise the science curriculum. They may choose to work subject-specifically (with Biology, Chemistry and Physics), integrated (with Science) or to mix these two. In this study, all three ways of organising science classes in compulsory school are present to some degree. None of the different ways of organising science education displayed statistically significant better student results in scientific literacy as measured in PISA 2003. The HLM model used variables of gender, country of birth, home language, preschool attendance, an economic, social and cultural index as well as the teaching organisation.

National Category
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-15473 (URN)
Available from: 2008-11-11 Created: 2008-11-11 Last updated: 2015-11-04Bibliographically approved
2. Integrated and subject-specific Science education: Teachers’ and students’ views
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Integrated and subject-specific Science education: Teachers’ and students’ views
(English)Manuscript (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This study concerns the views of teachers’ and students’ regarding Science education. The teachers and students are all from four schools in the same small town in Sweden. The teachers’ views of Science lessons focused on how to plan lessons and organise content. The students’ views focused on three questions concerning the integration of science. The study is based on several data collections: interviews with and observations of teachers, a school survey and student questionnaires. The teacher interviews were analysed with regard to integrated and subject-specific Science education and the students’ questionnaires were analysed with statistical methods. The four schools in this study may be categorised as two integrated schools, one subject-specific and one mixed school. The students’ views of subjectspecific and integrated Science did not completely coincide with the teachers’ views. Teachers and students agreed on that they did integrated education in only one out of the four schools.

Science education, teachers’ and students’ views, integrated and subject specific Science
National Category
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-15475 (URN)
Available from: 2008-11-11 Created: 2008-11-11 Last updated: 2010-01-14Bibliographically approved

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Åström, I. Maria
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Department of Social and Welfare StudiesFaculty of Arts and Sciences

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