An evaluation of a national curriculum document, Chemistry in the New Zealand curriculum.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science Education
Before the introduction of Chemistry in the New Zealand Curriculum (CINZC) in 1995 the teaching of chemistry in New Zealand schools had largely been determined by School Certificate and Bursary examination prescriptions and a national Sixth Form Certificate syllabus. The directive given by the then Secretary for Education was that CINZC should provide the basis for development of teaching programmes and that the Achievement Aims and Objectives would be used in the development of future examination prescriptions and alternative assessment systems. The major purpose of the research presented in this thesis was to determine the extent to which CINZC has influenced teaching approaches in schools, how useful the curriculum has been to teachers, the level of support for the curriculum from teachers with different backgrounds, and to determine the major barriers or tensions that could affect successful implementation. A questionnaire was sent to a sample of secondary schools throughout New Zealand. The data collected were analysed and used to frame questions to be used in comprehensive interviews with six Christchurch chemistry teachers. The results indicated that, while a great majority of chemistry teachers agree with the philosophy and intent of CINZC implementation had been only partially successful in schools and several barriers existed, notably insufficient time and inadequate written and human resources. One very significant finding related to the differences in attitude and support for CINZC by male and female respondents. Females were generally more supportive and positive than their male counterparts. Differences between teachers of different age groups, school gender and school size were less notable. Several recommendations are made as a result of these findings. The most important immediate need is for a teacher's guide to be produced that fills in the detail many teachers are seeking. Allied to this resource is the need for a comprehensive teacher development programme to assist implementation.