The Scientific Reasoning Level of Students’ In the Faculty of Science in King Saud University According To Teaching Level and Specialization Variables Introduction Science is a body of knowledge that entails developing or inventing new ideas and validating the ideas using scientific methodology or scientific reasoning…
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It is important to establish how scientific reasoning capability affect the way students choose the subjects to specialize in. Students within the faculty of science in King Saudi University can choose to specialize in Biology, Chemistry, or Physics. It is also important to establish the scientific reasoning capability of students in the four learning levels in King Saud University to determine whether their understanding of different scientific concepts is progressing or not. Literature Review A lot of research has been done on factors that determine performance of students in science and the scientific reasoning. Such studies have shown that scientific reasoning is imperative and it enables students predict and apply different scientific theories. A study conducted by Bell, Maeng & Peters (2010, p. 8) showed that students enjoy challenges posed by scientific inquiry and take part more devotedly when supported. The study also showed that most teachers do not exhibit natural ability in providing instructions and teaching on the nature of science thus students interest in science and scientific reasoning capability tends to depreciate as they proceed to higher teaching levels. Schen (2007, p. 86-88) did a study to investigate development of scientific reasoning among undergraduate students majoring in Biology. The study made use of Lawson Classroom Test of Scientific Reasoning (LCTSR) to assess student’s scientific reasoning capability. The study results showed that there is need to foster development of reasoning skills among undergraduate biology students to improve the reasoning skills of future scientists. Schen concluded that undergraduate students pursuing biology may be having difficulty in understanding scientific methods well since they are not evolving their mental reasoning skills (Schen, 2007, p.142). Moore and Rubbo (2011, p.3) did another research to determine scientific reasoning abilities of non-science majors in physics-based courses. The study results showed that students in non-scientific physics based courses, which included conceptual physics and astronomy courses score considerably lower on the LCTSR compared to students enrolled in courses with science majors (Moore & Rubbo, 2011, p.8-11). Another study was done by Benford and Russell (2001, p.2) and aimed at examining the connection between scientific methodologies and biological inquiry methods in college biology laboratories. The study established a negative relationship between lecturer or instructor inquiry and student understanding of nature of science. The study also showed that most biology students have low scientific reasoning capability. Little research has been done on how scientific reasoning differs in different scientific specialization such as Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. Additionally, there is less literature comparing the trend of scientific reasoning across different levels of study. This study is thus important since it aims at establishing if there is any difference in scientific reasoning in the different specialization as well as in the different levels of study. Background and Objective The level of scientific reasoning determines how student perceive different aspects of science, which in turn determine the science subject they choose to major in. The scientific concepts vary from one level of study to
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