Problem statement: For individual and social life to be in line with the information age, the individual should have such characteristics as being able to access information, maintain a scientific point of view on events, and being able to analyse and evaluate events. This can only be achieved by teaching students about the skills involved in the scientific process skills. The research pointed out that teachers, who are expected to teach science process skills, often have inadequate science process skills themselves. This study aims to provide insight into student teachers’ skills and the factors affecting these skills.
Purpose of Study: This study aims to determine student teachers’ level of science process skills (SPS) and to investigate how and why these skills change across academic program and gender.
Methods: This study’s data were collected from 150 final-year university students who were in biology, chemistry, general science and physics education programs in a state university in Izmir in Turkey, by using the relational survey method to explore relationships among the variables in the study. The research instruments of the study were Personal Information Form (PIF), Science Process Skills Scale (SPSS) and Science Process Skills Questionnaire Form (SPSQF). The SPSS was a scale of 20 items with a KR-20 of 0.67. The SPSQF consisted of four open-ended questions dealing with the extent to which science process skills are part of classroom and laboratory activities. The quantitative data from the SPSS was analysed through t-tests, ANOVA and Scheffe tests. A five-level grading scale, which was based on the maximum score from the SPSS, was used in determining the average SPS level of students in various programs.
Findings and Results: According to the five-level grading of the SPSS, the physics education program obtained the highest score. The analyses of ANOVA indicated that there was a significant difference among the student teachers’ science process skills in favour of physics education. The data from the SPSQF showed that classes in the physics program had the highest number of classroom and laboratory activities that introduced science process skills. There was no statistically significant gender difference in science process skills (p > 0.05), but the mean skill level of girls was slightly higher than that of the boys.
Conclusions and Recommendations: This study found that the levels of the science process skills of student teachers were “medium” and “good,” and that there were statistically significant differences by program. It is believed that the source of this difference is the number of activities aiming at science process skills that each program implements. In the study, we did not find any statistically significant difference by gender.
In order to raise individuals who have adequate science process skills, we need to create an environment where students can actively participate in learning process. Therefore, in science teaching, students should be encouraged to implement science process skills in the classroom and to construct scientific knowledge through their own scientific investigations.
Keywords: Science process skills, student teachers, curriculum, teacher education