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János Géczi: Students' knowledge of biology

This paper surveys the results of a 1999 Baranya county, Hungary, test of subject knowledge, focusing on the biology component. In surveying the problems of Hungarian science education, Csapó (1999) has linked its crisis to three issues. He has found that the symptoms appeared in a decline in student performance, in science knowledge unrelated to cognitive abilities or to application, and in a rejection of science subjects, especially of physics and chemistry. International studies have been conducted to solve these problems or at least to explore them. The same conclusions have been reached in the present study. The level of Hungarian students' biology knowledge is low. The present study has identified literature and mathematics marks to be the most influential in biology marks. To a lesser extent, the practical application of science knowledge and, for year 11, inductive thinking have also been identified as influential factors. In the Baranya research, there is a wide gap between test results and marks, especially in year 7. This indicates that the majority of teachers overrate primary-school students, except for those in the smallest settlements, who appear to be too strict. A weak correlation has been obtained for test results and attitudes to the subject. The popularity of the subject shows a decline from year 7 to year 11. No correlation has been established between marks and popularity in year 7, with slight correlations found in year 11. The role of inductive thinking in shaping the biology knowledge of secondary-school students is more marked than for year 7 students. In the study, other factors determining biology knowledge have been accounted for in 50 to 60 percent of the cases; the rate is higher in year 7 and lower in year 11. Biology knowledge is better in small villages than in larger settlements, which runs contrary to the so-called settlement slope claim. Students' zoology knowledge is better than their botany knowledge; moreover, the rate of the two is constant (both according to performance and settlement categories).

MAGYAR PEDAGÓGIA 101. Number 4. 461-483. (2001)

Address for correspondence: Géczi János, Pécsi Tudományegyetem, Tanár­képző Intézet. H-7624 Pécs, Ifjúság u. 6.

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Magyar Tudományos Akadémia