n African Journal of Research in Mathematics, Science and Technology Education - An exploratory study on the alignment between the different levels of the curriculum on circuit electricity - research

Volume 23 Number 3
  • ISSN : 1811-7295
  • E-ISSN: 2469-7656
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Various reasons for under-performance in physical sciences have been found, such as a lack of teachers’ content knowledge and a lack of resources. This study looks into the extent of alignment between the various levels of the curriculum on circuit electricity (intended, implemented and attained levels). The research took place in Mpumalanga amongst 1423 Grade 11 learners with their teachers at 42 South African schools. The study followed an exploratory research design, using an interpretive paradigm whereby the learners responded to a survey questionnaire, namely the learner electricity learning confirmatory questionnaire. Their teachers’ electricity teaching lesson plan was collected and analysed. The alignments of four different curriculum levels were compared, namely the formal curriculum (21 electricity topics in the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement); the perceived curriculum (the topics included in the lesson plans); the experiential curriculum (learner reports of topics studied); and the assessed curriculum (problematic electricity topics in diagnostic reports). This study provided evidence of a misalignment of the formal with the perceived, experiential and assessed curricula, but a closer alignment of experiential curriculum with the perceived and assessed curricula. Findings contradict the impression that teachers plan to teach for the examinations; however, they teach sections that do not appear in the exam. More alarmingly, teachers omit ‘conceptually difficult’ sections from their lesson plans but include the relevant applications of these concepts in calculations. District officials need to ensure that the difficult electricity concepts are taught, and they should make sure that the teachers teach what is expected in the formal curriculum.

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