n South African Journal of Higher Education - Techniques for anchoring concepts in mechanics at the FET / HET interface : the practice of higher education

Volume 16, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



The Science Foundation Year Programme (SFYP) at the University of Transkei (UNITRA) is an action plan to deal with the "articulation gap'' between the FET / HET interface in the South African education system. This case study evaluates the effectiveness of the Foundation Physics course in aiding true understanding of the ideas, concepts and laws in this field. The particular area of study was Newtonian Mechanics. The sample consisted of an intact group of 130 SFYP students registered at UNITRA, 58 in 2000 and 72 in 2001. The standardized assessment test given prior to selection was used as an indicator of entry level competence. The intervention consisted of visualization, multi- faceted view, situational application and mathematical analysis in the teaching-learning processes of modules FPHY 103 (Kinematics) and FPHY 104 (Dynamics). The post-test evaluated the anchoring of these concepts. The t-test for dependent correlated samples showed a marked increase in the level of understanding of the students and in the anchoring of the concepts. Separate analyses of pre- and post- test results of the sample, categorized into two levels of motivation indicated that the effect of the intervention was more pronounced for the group with the higher motivational level.

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