School students’ views about Physics: A cross-national study involving England, Hong Kong and Singapore

Subramaniam Gurusamy, Pey-Tee Oon, Ian Abrahams

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RESEARCH IN SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGICAL EDUCATION uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. The final published version (version of record) is available online at the link. Some minor differences between this version and the final published version may remain. We suggest you refer to the final published version should you wish to cite from it.

Background: Recognizing the declining interest of school students in Physics, this study sought to explore the situation in England, Hong Kong and Singapore.
Purpose: To ascertain students’ views about various aspects of physics.
Sample: A total of 2719 students from the three countries participated in this study.
Design and methods: A survey approach was used to ascertain the views of students. It was earlier validated in one of the countries. The Rasch model was used to treat the survey data.
Results: On the utilitarian factor, the students from Hong Kong and Singapore held significantly negative attitudes towards career prospects for physics graduates. To them, obtaining a degree in physics would not, as compared to other subjects, appreciably assist them vocationally, which was in contrast to the view held by the England students. On the intrinsic factor, while the students from all three countries found physics to be interesting, it did not appear to significantly motivate them to want to continue with physics at tertiary level. Nevertheless, they asserted that good grades do motivate them to study physics. On the social aspect, the students from the three countries endorsed significantly positively on the influence of their physics teachers in inspiring them to study physics, with the students from Singapore and Hong Kong endorsing slightly higher agreement. The former group also reported that their close friends generally think that physics is ‘uncool’ while those from England felt otherwise. Students’ views were similar in terms of parental influence, with parents significantly discouraging them from studying physics at tertiary level. They did not exhibit significantly different views on subject matter. Enrichment activities and laboratory work were important to them in nurturing and maintaining interest in physics
Conclusion: The survey data has provided useful insights on students’ views of various aspects of Physics in the three countries.
Key words: Students’ views of physics, Rasch analysis, England, Hong Kong, Singapore
Original languageEnglish
JournalResearch in Science & Technological Education
Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2022

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