|M.Sc Student||Abdalla Rana|
|Subject||Chemistry Teachers' Pedagogical Content Knowledge,|
Assessment Knowledge and Challenges in Teaching
the Energy Topic
|Department||Department of Education in Science and Technology||Supervisor||Professor Yehudit Dori|
This research was conducted as part of the process of reforming Israeli chemical education in teaching, learning and evaluation methods in high schools. Teachers are expected to encourage higher order thinking skills, emphasize the relevance of chemistry to the students’ life, and evaluate their students in alternative ways. The research focused on the teaching and evaluation of the Energy and Dynamics in Chemistry unit in the 12th grade. This unit focuses on concepts and processes about the subject - kinetics, chemical equilibrium and energy in chemical processes.
The research questions were based on the chemistry teachers’ self-reports and included: (1) What are the characteristics of the Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK) and the teachers' assessment knowledge (AK) while teaching the energy unit? (2) What are the advantages and challenges of the teaching and evaluation methods integrated into the energy unit according to the teachers? (3) What are the teachers' perceptions about the energy unit and their ability to teach and assess it ?
The research method combines: quantitative tool - questionnaires with open and close-ended questions; qualitative tools - semi-structured interviews; and assessment tasks that teachers' developed for the characterization of their CK, PCK and AK. These tasks expressed the teaching and evaluation methods chemistry teachers used in their own classrooms while they taught and evaluated the energy unit.
The research participants were 63 chemistry teachers who prepare students for matriculation exams in chemistry and teach the energy unit as well as participated in summer courses at the Technion. For the interviews, seven teachers were selected from the teachers who completed the questionnaires .
The analysis of the findings showed that teachers' assessment knowledge (AK) received the lowest score while CK and PCK received a high score in the questionnaire. In analyzing assessment tasks, we found that most teachers combined higher order thinking assessments at different levels of understanding in teaching chemistry.
In the analysis of the teachers' interviews, it was found that among the seven teachers there were different assessment characteristics when applying the alternative assessment within the 30% of the energy unit, some of which were traditional and some innovative.
An analysis of the questionnaires and interviews for understanding the teachers' perceptions of the curriculum in the energy unit revealed that most of the teachers think that it is the combination of high levels of thinking in the unit that distinguishes it from the other chemistry units. The scientific concepts are presented in the unit via multiple representations - visual and textual along with the four understanding levels in chemistry and these characteristics distinguishes it from other learning units. However, we found that there are challenges arising from students' learning difficulties and teachers' struggle to develop alternative assessment tasks.
The research contributes to better understanding chemistry teachers' perceptions and challenges they face while teaching and assessing the energy unit; identifying the pedagogical content knowledge and assessment knowledge the chemistry teachers poses as they teach energy tasks; and designing indicators and a rubric for alternative assessment tasks developed by teachers.