A recent study published in the International Journal of Science Education and funded by the Education Endowment Foundation (England) examined the impact of the Thinking, Doing, Talking Science (TDTS) program on students’ learning outcomes. TDTS is a teacher professional development (PD) program with similarities to inquiry-based science education. The program aims to enhance teachers’ skills to facilitate students’ higher order thinking through teacher demonstration, student practical tasks and challenges, and class discussion.
The study involved 1264 pupils aged 9-10 at 42 primary schools. Schools were randomly assigned to the TDTS group or the control group. Teachers in the TDTS group received five training days over a school year and implemented the program in their classes. The researchers used a measure developed by them to evaluate student science achievement with particular attention to science inquiry process, content knowledge, and conceptual understanding. The measure was based on questions extracted from standardized tests.
Results showed that:
· There was a significant effect size for the TDTS intervention (ES = +0.22).
· The program was more effective for girls compared to boys (ES for girls = +0.32; ES for boys = +0.12).
· The program was more effective for low-achieving students rather than average or high achievers (low achievers ES = +0.30; average/high achievers = +0.22).
Source: Hanley, P., Wilson, H., Holligan, B., & Elliott, L. (2020). Thinking, doing, talking science: the effect on attainment and attitudes of a professional development programme to provide cognitively challenging primary science lessons. International Journal of Science Education, 42(15), 2554-2573.