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Title: Investigation into the effectiveness of practical work in achieving curriculum objectives for engineering studies in secondary education
Author: Zainuddin, Suhaiza
ISNI:       0000 0004 8501 5614
Awarding Body: University of Lincoln
Current Institution: University of Lincoln
Date of Award: 2019
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Practical work is a component in most STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) curricula. It can be defined in engineering education as students experience by manipulating real objects or materials inside or outside the classroom. Mechanical Engineering Studies has been introduced at technical schools in Malaysia since 1994 which included 60% of practical work elements. Although research on practical work in science is well established for several years, there is insufficient research on practical work in engineering education. Previous studies have suggested that the curriculum objective is an important element in the curriculum development in most countries, however, until recently, deficient study has evaluated the achievement of the curriculum objective. This study aims to evaluate the effectiveness of practical work in achieving curriculum objectives, to explore the international perspectives on the effectiveness of practical work in STEM education and to investigate the challenges faced by teachers in implementing practical work for engineering studies in secondary education. This study provides an indicator to classify effectiveness into five specific categories. It was conducted by evaluating the practical work elements in the seven curriculum objectives for Mechanical Engineering Studies. This study combined the questionnaire, interview and observation through triangulations of methods for data collection in multiple case studies. Additionally, it investigated previous ten years studies on practical work in STEM education worldwide through a systematic review. This study involved (n = 261) mechanical engineering students and (n = 10) mechanical engineering teachers as the participants from five technical schools. This study adopted the model of the process of design and evaluation of a practical task by Abrahams and Millar (2008), to investigate the effectiveness Level 1 (the domain of observable). The results indicate that practical work is 'effective' in achieving four curriculum objectives and it is 'highly effective' in achieving the other three. The results align with the international perspective of practical work that suggested practical work is important to assist students in understanding the topic, developing their interest and encouraging them to cooperate well in group work. These findings have shown the success of the calculation for the degree of effectiveness in achieving the curriculum objectives. It also indicated a reliable process of transformation from qualitative data to numerical score in mixed methods data analysis. This study also discovered the challenges in the implementation of practical works are the difficulty of curriculum, insufficient of the budget, unclear objectives, lack of facilities, limited human resources and the time constraint. The discussion and conclusion have been structured based on the idea from the Dynamic Model of Education Effectiveness (Creemers and Kyriakides, 2008) which integrated four main factors that influenced the educational effectiveness which are the education system, the school, the teacher and the student. The original contribution of this study is the development of the table of degree of adverbs as an indicator of a systematic quantitative scoring process for qualitative data. This table allowed the mixed methods of data analysis compatible the triangulation of data collected from the questionnaires, the transcriptions from the interviews and the observations to provide the mean scores to classify the level of effectiveness. Finally, this study suggests for the practical work to be highly effective, the ministry should review the curriculum, involves supports from local universities and industries, increases the time allocation for practical work, provides teacher training, and placement a teaching assistants in all technical schools.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available