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An evaluation of a distance-teaching approach to science teacher education

Brophy, Michael

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Michael Brophy


This study examines the role played by science education in developing countries and finds that the effectiveness of science education in promoting either economic or social development is limited by the shortage of trained science teachers. The way that distance teaching helps overcome this problem is discussed and projects which use distance teaching for science teacher education are identified. One such project, the Emergency Science Programme (ESP) of Guyana, is described.
The Emergency Science Programme is comprehensively evaluated. This includes, (1) an intrinsic evaluation based on a content analysis of the curriculum materials and on a key-word analysis of students' reports of the materials, (2) a context evaluation based on interviews with participants of the programme, and (3) two performance evaluations. In the first of these the performance of ESP trained teachers is compared with that of an equivalent group of college-trained science teachers using a variety of measures including supervisors', head teachers' and pupils' assessments. In the second, the criterion performance of ESP teachers is assessed using the Criterion Sampling Approach. The overall evaluation shows that the ESP distance-teaching programme does successfully train students to teach science and that their performance is equivalent to that of college-trained teachers.
The different evaluation techniques used in the study are reviewed and the results and findings of each are compared. No single evaluation technique provided an adequate assessment of the programme. The Criterion Sampling Approach, which has the advantage of using standardized situational tests, was found to be a reliable and a valid means of assessing teaching performance.

Publication Date Jan 1, 1982


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