About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 2381-2388
Publication year: 2014
ISBN: 978-84-617-2484-0
ISSN: 2340-1095

Conference name: 7th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 17-19 November, 2014
Location: Seville, Spain

INVESTIGATING SOME BACKGROUND FACTORS AFFECTING STUDENT PARTICIPATION IN SCIENCE FAIRS: A CASE STUDY OF A REGIONAL EXPO FOR YOUNG SCIENTISTS

M. Ndlovu

Stellenbosch University (SOUTH AFRICA)
Learners’ participation in science fairs has been encouraged for affording them opportunities to carry out hands-on practical activities such as scientific investigations oriented towards inquiry science. However, there has been some debate as to the viability of the science fair’s usefulness to ill-equipped learners in disadvantaged schools as their cultural capital deficits appear to deny them opportunities to compete on an even keel with learners from historically advantaged schools (where learners have higher accumulations of all forms of capital) in South Africa. The purpose of this study was to conduct an exploratory analysis of non-school (background) factors influencing student participation and success rate at a Regional Expo in South Africa’s annual science fair for learners – the Expo for Young Scientists. Participation in the Expo is acknowledged to be one opportunity for learners to experience the highest levels of scientific inquiry. The study was a quantitative analysis of a convenient sample of 36 schools that participated in the Regional Expo in respect of variables such as distance from the venue, school type (primary, intermediate, combined or high school) gender equity, and poverty quintile categories. Findings were that only 5.1% of eligible schools in the region participated. Distance from the venue was a deterrent for many potential schools. Historically advantaged schools in quintiles 4-5 (higher socio-economic status) did not only have a superior participation rate as a measure of equity, but also had a higher success rate as a measure of the quality of participation. However, not all schools in the so-called upper quintiles 4-5 category performed well, suggesting that the neglect of scientific investigations or scientific inquiry could be more pervasive in schools than initially assumed thus giving pre-eminence to home background factors. The study recommends democratisation of participation through decentralisation, increased funding for ICT, laboratory infrastructure, science centres, science fair participation logistics, and increased technical support for teachers in disadvantaged schools.
@InProceedings{NDLOVU2014INV,
author = {Ndlovu, M.},
title = {INVESTIGATING SOME BACKGROUND FACTORS AFFECTING STUDENT PARTICIPATION IN SCIENCE FAIRS: A CASE STUDY OF A REGIONAL EXPO FOR YOUNG SCIENTISTS},
series = {7th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2014 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-617-2484-0},
issn = {2340-1095},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Seville, Spain},
month = {17-19 November, 2014},
year = {2014},
pages = {2381-2388}}
TY - CONF
AU - M. Ndlovu
TI - INVESTIGATING SOME BACKGROUND FACTORS AFFECTING STUDENT PARTICIPATION IN SCIENCE FAIRS: A CASE STUDY OF A REGIONAL EXPO FOR YOUNG SCIENTISTS
SN - 978-84-617-2484-0/2340-1095
PY - 2014
Y1 - 17-19 November, 2014
CI - Seville, Spain
JO - 7th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2014 Proceedings
SP - 2381
EP - 2388
ER -
M. Ndlovu (2014) INVESTIGATING SOME BACKGROUND FACTORS AFFECTING STUDENT PARTICIPATION IN SCIENCE FAIRS: A CASE STUDY OF A REGIONAL EXPO FOR YOUNG SCIENTISTS, ICERI2014 Proceedings, pp. 2381-2388.
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