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Science-Technology-Society approaches
This page contains the findings of systematic reviews undertaken by review groups linked to the EPPI-Centre

STS approaches are sometimes referred to as context-based or applications-led approaches.

There is good evidence for the following:

  • Context-based approaches do not adversely affect pupils’ understanding of scientific ideas.[1]

There is reasonable evidence for the following:

  • Context-based approaches foster more positive attitudes to science in general.[1]
  • Both boys and girls in classes using a context-based/STS approach held significantly more positive attitudes to science than their same-sex peers in classes using a traditional approach.[2]
  • A context-based/STS approach to teaching science narrowed the gap between boys and girls in their attitude to science.[2]
  • In cases when boys enjoyed the materials significantly more than girls, this was due to the nature of the practical work in the unit; in cases when girls enjoyed context-based materials significantly more than boys, this was because of the non-practical activities in the unit.[2]  

There was some evidence of gains in positive attitudes and conceptual understanding for students of lower ability.[2]

References

1. A systematic review of the effects of context-based and Science-Technology-Society (STS) approaches in the teaching of secondary science (2003)

2. The effects of context-based and Science-Technology-Society (STS) approaches in the teaching of secondary science on boys and girls, and on lower-ability pupils (2005)

  
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