Examining the Effects of Turkish Education Reform on Students' TIMSS 2007 Science Achievements

Article excerpt

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to examine the effects of some of the changes such as student centered learning (i.e. inquiry science instruction), outfitting classrooms with latest technology and computers that the reform movement has brought about on students' TIMSS 2007 science achievements. Two-staged stratified sampling was used in the selection process, in which schools and classes were sampled in the first and second stage, respectively. TIMSS 2007 study were administered to students, teachers and principles in 145 classes in 145 schools. On average, 28 students from each school participated in the study. The results of the hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) analyses indicate that while computer access positively influence students' science achievements, inquiry science instruction negatively influences students' science achievements. Furthermore, it has been found that students' science achievements increase in parallel to an increase in the socioeconomic status (SES) of the families, teacher experience and students' self-confidence in learning science. Finally, the effects of inquiry science instruction, self confidence in learning science and gender on TIMSS science achievement have been found to significantly vary among schools.

Key Words

Inquiry based learning, Reform, HLM, TIMSS 2007.

The purpose of the education reform that has been initiated in 2005 is to integrate Turkish education system with the world, to promote using student centered teaching methods and to raise generations who are capable of creative and logical thinking and inquires about the world. In this sense, Turkish education reform shares commonalities with the education reform movement in the United States (Sahin, Isiksal, & Ertepinar, 2010). No doubt that the reform movement has brought about many changes not only for students but also for teachers, administrators, parents and other stakeholders, as well. The future of the reform movement in Turkish education system that has been initiated in 2005, in a sense, will depend on its effects on students' achievements. If the reform movement positively influences students' achievements, it will continue to strengthen, otherwise serious revisions will have to be made. The effect of reform movements on students achievements on large scale assessments needs to be examined (Von Secker & Lissitz, 1999)

Literature review indicate that most of the Turkish studies are conducted using large-scale assessments such as Trends in Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) that are administered before the implementation of the reform movement in 2005 (Berberoglu, Çelebi, Özdemir, Uysal, & Yayan, 2003; Ceylan & Berberoglu 2007; Özdemir, 2003; Uzun & Ögretmen, 2010; Yayan & Berberoglu, 2004). Some studies used Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) data to examine the factors that affect Turkish students' achievements (Anil, 2009; Demir & Kiliç 2010; Yilmaz, 2009). In addition, many of these studies used mathematics achievement as outcome variable (Akyüz, 2006; Atar, 2011; Sevgi, 2009; Yildirim, 2006). The purpose of this study is to examine the effects of some of the changes such as student centered learning (i.e. inquiry science instruction), outfitting classrooms with latest technology and computers that the reform movement has brought about on students' TIMSS 2007 science achievements.

Inquiry Based Science Instruction

Education reform in Turkey aimed to bring fundamental changes in classroom practice including transitioning of instruction from teacher centered to student centered. In student centered learning, students play an active role in their learning, by planning their own investigations, questioning, working in groups and learning from each other (Anderson, 1997). In student centered learning teachers serve as a guide rather than a knowledge dispenser.

In science education, inquiry is used to describe a teaching method (i. …