Research / Student Research Abstract / The Impact of Designing Transdisciplinary STEAM Curriculum Using Authentic Assessment on Transforming Students Learning: A Case Study in UAE
Programme: PhD in Education
Year of Graduation :2018
The Impact of Designing Transdisciplinary STEAM Curriculum Using Authentic Assessment on Transforming Students Learning: A Case Study in UAE
STEAM education is one of the new reforms in science education that promotes students’ scientific, cognitive, social and psychomotor skills. The alignment of a transdisciplinary STEAM curriculum with authentic assessment has a positive impact on transforming students’ learning as it cuts across the three types of learning (emancipatory, communicative and instrumental learning) that were used as a conceptual framework to guide this study. The main purpose of the study was to investigate the impact of designing a transdisciplinary STEAM curriculum using authentic assessment on transforming students’ learning in a vocational institute in UAE. A multiphase mixed method design has been used in this study, in two phases. A document analysis of the lesson plans and curriculum developers and teachers’ questionnaire were administered in the first phase. The participants were two groups of 21 curriculum developers and 30 teachers in science, technology, engineering, language art, design art, and mathematics. A quasi experiment “pretest posttest control group” using a closed-ended survey was followed by focus group questions that were administered in the second phase of the study. Participants in this phase were 80 students from grade 12 (40 in control groups and 40 in experimental groups). The treatment of the experimental groups was the link between aligning the transdisciplinary STEAM curriculum and authentic assessment, where students were exposed to the three types of learning: emancipatory, communicative, and instrumental learning. The results revealed that the design of the transdisciplinary STEAM curriculum using authentic assessment had a positive impact on transforming students’ learning, where a change in their frames of reference (transformation of perspectives and habits of mind) occurred. The use of authentic assessment tasks allowed students to have several checkpoints to reflect, receive feedback and self-assess their work. There was a significant difference between the pretest and posttest where the combination of the three types of learning helped in transforming students’ learning. The results of the study emphasise the importance that exposing students to the three types of learning while solving complex real-world problems collaboratively and self-assessing their learning has on transforming the students’ frames of reference. Strong correlations were found between emancipatory, communicative, and instrumental learning, and students’ results. Furthermore, adding art to STEM subjects allowed students to reach the highest level of creativity where they were shifting between divergent and convergent thinking.
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