The role of structured inquiry, open inquiry, and epistemological beliefs in developing secondary students’ scientific and mathematical literacies

Hsin Hui Wang, Zuway R. Hong, Hsiao-Ching She, Thomas J. Smith, Jill Fielding, Huann shyang Lin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: The recommendation from national documents and reports to promote inquiry-related science activities has not been supported by recent studies, which have found the overall frequency of inquiry activities to be negatively associated with student learning outcomes. This study was inspired by such conflicting reports and aimed to clarify the associations of science-specific, inquiry-related activities and epistemological beliefs with students’ mathematical and scientific literacies. Results: A secondary analysis of the database from the Programme for International Student Assessment 2015 of Australia (N1= 14,530) and Taiwan (N2 = 7708) utilizing structural equation modelling revealed that these two countries exhibited similar data patterns. Results suggested that open-inquiry activities (such as debating and planning experiments) had a negative relationship with secondary students’ mathematical and scientific literacies. Structured inquiry learning (such as students explaining their ideas and teacher explaining how an idea can be applied to different phenomena) and epistemological beliefs about science were significant and positive predictors of student mathematical and scientific literacy performance. Conclusions: The current study further highlights and provides empirical evidence that the teacher’s role in structured inquiry (especially pertaining to the relevance and applicability of these ideas) appears to be essential to the development of student literacy. Educational implications and recommendations are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number14
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of STEM Education
Volume9
DOIs
StatePublished - 5 Feb 2022

Keywords

  • Epistemological beliefs
  • Inquiry-related learning activities
  • Mathematical literacy
  • Scientific literacy
  • Structural equation modelling

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