Questioning Levels of Greek Middle School Chemistry Textbooks from a Learning Activities Perspective

By Michael Skoumios and Nikolaos Diakos.

Published by The International Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Learning

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: June 4, 2015 $US5.00

The questions included in school science textbooks play a vital role in the learning process. However, the research related to the analysis of the questions included in school science textbooks is quite restricted. The purpose of this study is to analyze the questions of two middle school chemistry textbooks in Greece -which are aimed at 14 and 15 year old students- from a learning activities perspective. These two school textbooks are used exclusively for the teaching of chemistry in Greek middle schools. In total were evaluated 205 questions (87 from the first and 118 from the second textbook). A coding scheme for questions on the cognitive activities and metacognitive activities in which students are activated to engage is used, based on the taxonomy of Verloop and Vermunt (1999) and Overman, Vermunt, Meijer, Bulte and Brekelmans (2013). This coding scheme categorizes the questions according to the opportunities for students to engage in cognitive learning activities (“selecting”, “memorizing/rehearsing”, “applying”, “concretizing”, “analyzing”, “structuring”, “relating” and “processing critically”) and metacognitive learning activities (“orienting/planning”, “monitoring/testing/diagnosing”, “adjusting” and evaluating/reflecting”). It was found that questions included in the school chemistry textbooks appeared to focus mainly on “memorizing/rehearsing” activities than on other cognitive activities. Moreover, questions were not found that activate students to engage in metacognitive activities and there is not a statistically significant relation between the types of questions and the school textbooks. The theoretical and practical implications for the innovation of the chemistry textbooks are discussed.

Keywords: School Textbook Questions, Learning Activities, Science Education

The International Journal of Science, Mathematics, and Technology Learning, Volume 22, Issue 3, September 2015, pp.15-30. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: June 4, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 700.329KB)).

Dr. Michael Skoumios

Assistant Professor, Department of Primary Education, University of Aegean, Rhodes, Dodecanisa, Greece

Nikolaos Diakos

Teacher, Postgraduate student, Department of Primary Education, University of Aegean, Ministry of Education, Chalkida, Eyvoia, Greece