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Bridging the Gap? a comparative, retrospective analysis of science literacy and interest in science for indigenous and non-indigenous Australian students

McConney, A., Oliver, M., Woods‐McConney, A. and Schibeci, R. (2011) Bridging the Gap? a comparative, retrospective analysis of science literacy and interest in science for indigenous and non-indigenous Australian students. International Journal of Science Education, 33 (14). pp. 2017-2035.

Link to Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09500693.2010.529477
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Abstract

Previous research has shown that indigenous students in Australia do not enjoy equal educational outcomes with other Australians. This secondary analysis of PISA 2006 confirmed that this continues to be the case in science literacy for secondary students. However, the analysis also revealed that indigenous Australian students held interest in science equal to that of their non-indigenous peers, and that observed variations in science literacy performance were most strongly explained by variations in reading literacy. These findings hold important implications for teachers, teacher educators, policy-makers, and researchers. Firstly, acknowledging and publicly valuing indigenous Australian science knowledge through rethinking school science curriculum seems an important approach to engaging indigenous students and improving their literacy in science. Secondly, appropriate professional learning for practising teachers and the incorporation of indigenous knowing in science methods training in teacher preparation seems warranted. Additionally, we offer a number of questions for further reflection and research that would benefit our understanding of ways forward in closing the science literacy gap for indigenous students. Whilst this research remains firmly situated within the Australian educational context, we at the same time believe that the findings and implications offered here hold value for science education practitioners and researchers in other countries with similar populations striving to achieve science literacy for all.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Education
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Copyright: © 2011 Taylor & Francis
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/4945
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