Universal Journal of Educational Research 2(1): 37-41, 2014DOI: 10.13189/ujer.2014.020104http://www.hrpub.orgThe Effect of Inquiry-based Learning Method on Students’Academic Achievement in Science CourseAli AbdiDepartment of Educational Sciences Payame noor University , PO BOX 19395-3697 Tehran, Iran*Corresponding Author: firstname.lastname@example.orgCopyright 2014 Horizon Research Publishing All rights reserved.Abstract The purpose of this study was to investigate theeffects of inquiry-based learning method on students’academic achievement in sciences lesson. A total of 40 fifthgrade students from two different classes were involved inthe study. They were selected through purposive samplingmethod. The group which was assigned as experimentalgroup was instructed through inquiry-based learning methodwhereas the other group was traditionally instructed. Thisexperimental study lasted eight weeks. To determine theeffectiveness of inquiry-based learning method overtraditional instruction, an achievement test about scienceswhich consisted of 30 items was administered as pre-test andpost-test to students both in the experimental and controlgroups. For the statistical analysis, Analysis ofCovariance (ANCOVA) was used. The results showed thatstudents who were instructed through inquiry-based learningwere achieved higher score than the ones which wereinstructed through the traditional method.Keywords Inquiry-Based Learning Method, TraditionalMethod, Sciences Course1. IntroductionIn the current information and technology age, whenscientific information increases day by day technologicalinnovations advance rapidly, it is clearly seen that theeducation of science and technology plays a key role for thefuture of the societies and the effects of science andtechnology are seen overtly in every aspect of our lives(karamustafaoglu, 2010). ). Rubba and Andersen (1978),Hurd (1970) and Klopfer (1971) indicate that the major goalof science education should be developing students“scientific literacy”. Since the goal of science education isrelated to very important questions which are “why teachscience to who teach science and at what level”, there is arelationship between the method of instruction and theattainment of objectives (Baez, 1971). Among these differentkinds of methodologies, inquiry method has an importantplace.The inquiry-based teaching approach is supported onknowledge about the learning process that has emerged fromresearch (Bransford, Brown, & Cocking, 2000). Ininquiry-based science education, children become engagedin many of the activities and thinking processes thatscientists use to produce new knowledge. Science educatorsencourage teachers to replace traditional teacher-centeredinstructional practices, such as emphasis on textbooks,lectures, and scientific facts, with inquiry-orientedapproaches that (a) engage student interest in science, (b)provide opportunities for students to use appropriatelaboratory techniques to collect evidence, (c) requirestudents to solve problems using logic and evidence, (d)encourage students to conduct further study to develop moreelaborate explanations, and (e) emphasize the importance ofwriting scientific explanations on the basis ofevidence(secker,2002). Sandoval & Reiser(2004) pointedout in order to build the inquiry-based classroomenvironment must construct a community of practice like thescientists work. In authentic inquiry-based activities, thestudents take action as scientists did, experiencing theprocess of knowing and the justification of knowledge.In contrast, the traditional classroom often looks like aone-person show with a largely uninvolved learner.Traditional classes are usually dominated by direct andunilateral instruction. Traditional approach followers assumethat there is a fixed body of knowledge that the student mustcome to know. Students are expected to blindly accept theinformation they are given without questioning the instructor(Stofflett, 1998). The teacher seeks to transfer thoughts andmeanings to the passive student leaving little room forstudent-initiated questions, independent thought orinteraction between students (VAST, 1998). Even the inactivities based subjects, although activities are done in agroup but do not encourage discussion or exploration of theconcepts involved. This tends to overlook the criticalthinking and unifying concepts essential to true scienceliteracy and appreciation (Yore, 2001). This teacher-centeredmethod of teaching also assumes that all students have thesame level of background knowledge in the subject matter
38The Effect of Inquiry-based Learning Method on Students’ Academic Achievement in Science Courseand are able to absorb the material at the same pace (Lord,1999).There are different forms of inquiry learning(Bulbul,2010).In structured inquiry the teacher provides the input for thestudent with a problem to investigate along with theprocedures and materials. This type of inquiry learning isused to teach a specific concept, fact or skill and leads theway to open inquiry where the student formulates his ownproblem to investigate. An example of a structured inquirylearning approach is the Learning Inquiry Cycle Model,based on Piagets theory of cognitive learning (Bevevino,Dengel, & Adams, 1999). The learning cycle model is ateaching procedure consistent with the inquiry nature ofscience and with the way children naturally learn (Cavallo &Laubach, 2001). Many versions of the learning cycle appearin science curricula with phases ranging in number from 4Eto 5E to 7E. Regardless of the quantity of phases, everylearning cycle has at its core the same purpose (Settlage,2000). In this study, 5E learning cycle instruction model byBybee et al., (2006) was used. It requires the instruction offive discrete elements: (a) Engagement: The teacher or acurriculum task accesses the learners’ prior knowledge andhelps them become engaged in a new concept through theuse of short activities that promote curiosity and elicit priorknowledge. (b)Exploration: Exploration experiences providestudents with a common base of activities within whichcurrent concepts (particularly misconceptions), processes,and skills are identified and conceptual change is facilitated.(c)Explanation: The explanation phase focuses students’attention on a particular aspect of their engagement andexploration experiences and provides opportunities todemonstrate their conceptual understanding, process skills,or behaviors. This phase also provides opportunities forteachers to directly introduce a concept, process, or skill.(d)Elaboration: After receiving explanations about mainideas and terms for their learning tasks, it is important toinvolve the students in further experiences that extend, orelaborate, the concepts, processes, or skills. This elaborationphase facilitates the transfer of concepts to closely relatedbut new situations. In some cases, students may still havemisconceptions, or they may only understand a concept interms of the exploratory experience. (e)Evaluation: This isthe important opportunity for students to use the skills theyhave acquired and evaluate their understanding. In addition,the students should receive feedback on the adequacy of theirexplanations. Informal evaluation can occur at the beginningand throughout the 5E sequence. The teacher can complete aformal evaluation after the elaboration phase. This is thephase in which teachers administer assessments to determineeach students level of understanding (Bybee et al., 2006).So,the purpose of this study is to examine the effects ofinquiry-based instruction supported 5E learning cycle on 5grade students’ achievements as a school subject. This study,seeks the answer to the following question: Is teachingscience with inquiry-based instruction supported 5E learningcycle more effective than traditional science teachingmethods?2. HypothesisThere will be no significant difference in the mean gainachievement scores of the learners in controlled group andexperimental group.3. MethodologyA. Design of the StudyThis research was a quasi-experimental study withnon-equivalent groups, which includes pre and post-testdesign with the control group. Since the classes were formedat the beginning of the semester by school administration, itwas not possible to assign students randomly to bothexperimental and control groups. But the classes wererandomly assigned as control and experimental group.The experiment design pattern is shown in Figure 1. In thepattern below, O1 is experiment group while O2 is controlgroup. “X” represents treatment i.e. Inquiry-Based teachingapproach (learning cycle model).GroupsExperimentalgroupControl groupPre-testExperimenttreatmentPost testO1XO1O2 O2Figure 1. The experiment design patternB. SamplingThe study was conducted with 20 experimental and 20control group girl students at 5th grade in primary schools inKermanshah, Iran. The selection of the school had been donethrough purposive sampling method. Classes were randomlyassigned as the “control” and “experimental” groups. Inorder to ensure the equivalence at experimental and controlgroups, students’ previous year graduate points ofachievement (GPA), intelligence fields, the number ofstudents at the groups and pretest results were taken intoaccount. It was found that experimental group wasstatistically equal to control group.C. InstrumentAcademic Achievement Test was given to both groups aspre-test and post-test. The test included 30 multiple-choiceitems to measure the students’ academic achievement. Eachquestion had one correct answer and three ‘distracters’. Thiswas a teacher made test and it has been based on the table ofspecification. This table was organized for 3 chapters of thecourse "sciences education". The content validity of thestudy was examined by two sciences teachers, one researcherand one university professor. The internal consistencyreliability (Cronbach’s alpha) of this test was found to be0.75.
Universal Journal of Educational Research 2(1): 37-41, 2014D. ProceduresThe researcher used the following two treatments in thepresent study:aTaught by using 5E learning cycle (experimentalgroup)bTaught by using traditional method (control group)Both groups were instructed by the same sciences teacher.Before the implementation of treatment the teacher wasinformed about the purpose of the study and 5E learningcycle based instruction.In order to check the implementation of both treatments incontrol and experimental groups classroom observationswere carried out. In the control group, implementation ofinstruction based on traditional method, in the experimentalgroup implementation of instruction based on 5E learningcycle model were analyzed carefully. During the process ofobservation, the interaction between teacher-students andstudents-students; participation and contribution of studentsinto learning environment; behaviour and attitude of studentsand teacher as well as the physical conditions and materialavailability of the classroom were observed. Beforeobservation of the real implementation process, researchervisited the classrooms 2 times, sat silently at the back andobserved classroom.Student in the experimental group were instructed withinquiry-based instruction supported 5E learning cycle. In theinstruction based on 5E learning cycle method, teaching andlearning activities and lesson plans were designed tomaximize students active involvement in the learningprocess. The topics included in the lesson plans were aboutthe three units of fifth-grade sciences book; they included:hidden strangles (microbes, viruses, diseases, body’sdefenses ways, helping the defense of the body, andvaccines); nervous system and sense organs; and human andenvironment.Activities and lesson plans were implemented byconsidering stages of 5E learning cycle model.In the engagement phase, teacher tried to increase studentsattention, get them interested and ready to learn. So thatstudents had opportunities to make some connectionsbetween prior knowledge and present learning experiences.So that their thinking was organized toward learning outcomes. Students had previous knowledge about the conceptslike microbes, viruses, diseases and vaccines. An interestingimage symbolizing the body’s defenses system waspresented to the students. In addition, a story about therelationship among the microbes, viruses and body’sdefenses system was read. In the exploration phase, intentionwas to create learning environments for students so that theycould observe scientific processes, record data, isolatevariables, design and plan experiments, create graphs,interpret results, develop hypotheses, and organize theirfindings. Teacher only provided questions, suggestedapproaches, gave feedbacks, and assessed understandings.Microbe structure was examined under the microscope in thefollowing class. Activities used in the explanation phase39helped students demonstrate their understanding of relatedconcepts. Teacher guided students toward coherent andconsistent generalizations, helps students with distinctscientific vocabulary, and provided questions that helpstudents use this vocabulary to explain the results of theirexplorations. Activities used in elaboration phase, providedan opportunity for students to apply their knowledge to newdomains, which may include raising new questions andhypotheses to explore. A research task about the importanceof vaccines was given in elaboration stage. With theactivities used in the evaluation phase students hadopportunity to assess their understanding and abilities. Theactivities in evaluation phases were also used by teacher forboth formative and summative evaluations of studentlearning.In the control group, a teacher directed strategyrepresenting the traditional approach was used. The teacherused direct teaching and question and answer methods toteach related topics and basic concepts. Basic explanationsand question and answer methods suited the traditionalteaching approach where students are completely passive,were used while teaching the hidden strangles unit. Teachingstrategies consisted of the teacher’s explanations andtextbooks. In this group, the teacher provided instructionthrough lecture and discussion methods to teach the concepts.The teacher structured the entire class as a unit, wrote noteson the chalkboard about the definition of concepts, andpassed out worksheets for students to complete. The primaryunderlying principle was that knowledge takes the form ofinformation that is transmitted to students. After theteacher’s explanations, some concepts were discussed,prompted by teacher-directed questions. Worksheets weredeveloped specifically for each lesson. These requiredwritten responses and reinforced the concepts presented inthe classroom sessions. They were collected and correctedby the researcher. Each lesson typically consisted of theteacher presenting the correct way to solve problems. Themajority of instructional time was devoted to instruction andengaging in discussion stemming from the teacher’sexplanation and questions.Both traditional and inquiry classes used the sametextbook and handouts. The study took 8 weeks, six weeksfor the instruction, two weeks for the application of the preand the post-tests.E. Analysis of DataIn the present study, the researcher has used differenttypes of statistical techniques. They were Mean, Standarddeviation and “one-way ANCOVA” test.3. Research FindingsTable 1 indicates that experimental group performedbetter than the control group as shown by the values ofmeans and standard deviations but one cannot say whetherthese differences observed is significant or not.
40The Effect of Inquiry-based Learning Method on Students’ Academic Achievement in Science CourseTable 1. Means, Standard Deviations and Std. Error Mean of the Experimental and Control Groups for Pretests and posttest scores in academicachievement testvariablePre-testPost-testgroupNMeanStd. DeviationStd. 74.344Table 2. ANCOVA analysis for the differences in post-test mean scores between experimental and control groups in academic achievement testSourcepreSum 79640.743361.132Total1919.00040In order to investigate a research hypothesis, we usedANCOVA analysis. In the table 2 data on ANCOVAanalysis for the differences in post-test scores betweenexperimental and control groups in academic achievementtest.Table 2 indicates that the (F) value was (5.121) and it wassignificant value at the level (.030). This means that there isa significant difference in the means score of studentstaught sciences education using inquiry-based instructionsupported 5E learning cycle and those taught usingtraditional approach.F2.0565.121Sig.160.030Pandey et al. (2011) and Asimge Akpulluku et al (2011)concluded that inquiry training model have statisticallysignificant effect over conventional teaching method onacademic achievement of students.Therefore, Classroom teachers should consider how toprepare learning environments in which students will beactive in accordance with their characteristics and thenpresent these environments to students. Creating techniquesbased on the 5E instructional model on various subjects willattach a higher degree of importance on the 5E instructionalmodel. In addition, the education of trainee teachers willbenefit from these methods.4. ConclusionBased on the findings obtained in the study, it can be saidthat there is a significant difference between the achievementlevels of the students who have been educated byinquiry-based instruction supported 5E learning method andthe students who have been educated by the traditionalteaching methods. The students who have been educated byinquiry-based instruction supported 5E learning cyclemethod have become more successful than the students whohave been educated by the traditional teaching methods. Thisstudy offers results that support work previously performedby other researchers (Adams, Bevevino & Dengel, 1999;Sungur, Tekkaya & Geban, 2001; Lord, 1999; Marek,Eubanks & Gallaher, 1990; Seyhan & Morgil, 2007;Anderson, 2002, Cardak, Dikmenli and Saritas,2008).Seyhan & Morgil (2007) compared two classes taught bytraditional methods with two classes taught using the 5Einstructional model method. The study indicated that theexperimental groups had much greater understanding of theinformation covered especially on questions that requiredinterpretation.REFRENCESAkpulluku. A, and Gunay.F.Y (2011)“The Effect of InquiryBased Learning Environment In Science And TechnologyCourse On The Students’ Academic Achievements,” WesternAnatolia Journal of Educational Sciences, Dokuz EylulUniversity Institute, Izmir, Turkey, ISSN 1308-8971,.Anderson, R. (1997). The research on teaching as inquiry.Paper presented for the Center for Science, Mathematics andEngineering Education. National Research Council,Washington D.C.Anderson, R. (2002). Reforming Science Teaching: Whatresearch says about inquiry. Journal of Science TeacherEducation, 13, 1-2.Baez, A. (1971). “Aims, Contents and Methodology ofScience Teaching”, in Science and Education in DevelopingStates, edited by Gillon, H., Draeger Publishers, New York.Bevevino, M., Dengel, J. and Adams, K. (1999),Constructivist Theory in the Classroom, ConstructivistTheory In the Classroom
Universal Journal of Educational Research 2(1): 37-41, 2014Bransford, J.D., A.L. Brown, and R.R. Cocking, eds. (2000).How People Learn. Washington, D.C.: National AcademyPress.Bulbul, y.(2010).Effects of 7E learning cycle modelaccompanied with computer animations on Understandingof diffusion and osmosis concepts. Middle East TechnicalUniversity.Bybee, R., Taylor J., Gardner A., Scotter, P., Powell, J.,Westbrook, A., & Landes, N., (2006). The BSCS tions.Executive Summary, BSCS,
inquiry-based instruction supported 5E learning cycle . In the instruction based on 5E learning cycle method, teaching and learning activities and lesson plans were designed to maximize students active involvement in the learning process. The topics included in the lesson plans were about the three units of fifth-grade sciences book; they included: hidden strangles (microbes, viruses, diseases .
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