Didaktik der Biologie (englisch)

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Teaching Quality in Biology (DFG, 2007-2010)

involved persons:

LMU: Prof. Dr. Birgit J. Neuhaus

Universität Duisburg-Essen: Prof. Dr. Angela Sandmann, Dr. Stefanie Wüsten

A large number of isolated, subject-independent factors influencing pupils’ learning achievements have been identified within the scope of teaching quality research by now (Fraser, 1987; Wang et al.1993). However, neither interactions of these factors nor interactions between subject-independent and subject-specific factors have been empirically investigated so far (e.g., Helmke, 2004).   

The aims of this project are to scrutinize the importance of empirically established general criteria of teaching quality for the subject biology, to add subject-specific (i.e. biology-specific) criteria, and to check for interaction effects between them. The project is divided into two main parts: a preceding video study and a following intervention study.

In order to analyze the videos concerning general criteria of instructional quality, international and empirically documented quality criteria as well as their indicators are summarised in a coding manual and transferred to the biology lesson if possible. Furthermore, quality criteria of biology instruction were added after consulting educational standards and biology experts. Thereafter the coding manual was used to analyze 45 biology lessons of 9th grade secondary schools on the topic “blood and blood circulation” (Jatzwauk, 2007; Wadouh, 2007) on a four-stage Likert scale by two raters using event sampling. For the event sampling, the lessons are subdivided into specific units (introduction, repetition, practice, consolidation, etc.) which are then used to evaluate the lesson’s quality. Reliability is ensured by computing the generalizability coefficient.

The following intervention study serves to check the obtained data from the video study experimentally. Subject-specific and subject-independent criteria of teaching quality will be varied in a 2*2 design to examine their influence on pupils’ learning achievements as well as and on their interest in the subject biology.

In addition to contributing theoretical knowledge about the interaction between subject-specific and subject-independent quality criteria, a catalogue containing the most important teaching quality criteria for biology lessons will be developed at the end of this project. Furthermore, a set of teaching materials for biology lessons will be produced which are based on the identified factors of instruction quality.

The project is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the Graduate School "Teaching and Learning of Science" in cooperation with the Department for Biology Education, University of Duisburg-Essen.