GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

 
AUTHOR NAME
 
Family Name:
Al-Wahaibi
 
First Name:
Munira
 
ABSTRACT OF PAPER
 
Title of Paper:
An Omani National Remedial Program in Response to Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) 2007 Poor Results: Cognitive Knowledge Development Program for Students in Science, Mathematics and Concepts of Environmental Geography: Impact and Challenges
 
Paper Proposal Text :
Ms. Asila Al-Mawaali
Modern College of Business and Science
The Sultanate of Oman


Ms. Munira Al Wahaibi
Modern College of Business and Science
The Sultanate of Oman

Conference Proposal
Gulf Research Meeting, 2012


An Omani National Remedial Program in Response to Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) 2007 Poor Results: Cognitive Knowledge Development Program for Students in Science, Mathematics and Concepts of Environmental Geography: Impact and Challenges

Abstract

The paper sheds light on one of the educational projects that was launched by Ministry of Education in Oman in the academic year 2007/2008. The project which is called "the Cognitive Development Program for Students in Science, Mathematics and Concepts of Environmental Geography " was introduced in government schools in response to the low national score in TIMSS 2007. Hence the main aim of the program is to develop the students' Science and Math capabilities in order to improve their levels in Math and Science and to give further emphasis to these skills that form the basis of the rapidly changing world. This paper will focus on the impact this program has on students' achievement in Math, Science and Concepts of Environmental Geography. To achieve this goal, a case study will be conducted to measure the effectiveness of the Cognitive Development Program on students' achievement level in these areas.

Background:

Education system in the Sultanate of Oman has been developing rapidly since 1970, new schools are being opened every year and more students are being admitted to these schools. The most tremendous reform started when the Basic Education System was implemented in 1998 and since then the Ministry has been evaluating the new system in terms of curriculum, students' achievement and teachers' performance in order to insure its effectiveness.
Since the Sultanate, as any other country, strives to develop its education system and monitor and evaluate its progress, it has established relations with many organizations such as the Arab Bureau of Education for the Gulf States ( ABEGS) , Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALECSO) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific, Cultural Organization ( UNESCO) (Al-Maskri at el., 2011). Participating in such organizations helps Oman to benefit from the education opportunities that these organizations provide and helps to meet the priorities of the country. To continue its mission of developing the education system, Oman participated in the fourth cycle of TIMSS in 2007. The students' average score was 372 points and 423 in Math and Science respectively. Unfortunately both scores were below TIMSS average score (which was 500) (ibid).Those results were discussed by the policy makers and authorities at the Ministry of Education and recommendations to curricular developers, teacher supervisors, teachers, schools, teacher trainers and teacher training centers were given.

In addition, His Majesty Sultan Qaboos has given his Royal directions to launch a program that aims to develop students' achievement levels in Math and Science, develop their thinking skills, encourage them to conduct scientific research and develop their critical thinking skills. The Royal directions have also emphasized the importance of improving the methods of teaching Math and Science. Therefore, the Cognitive Development Program for Students in Science, Mathematics and Concepts of Environmental Geography was launched in the academic year 2007/2008.

The program has three major branches: oral competitions, written tests and student projects. It targets all government school students in grades 5 to 10.
The oral competitions are conducted between classes in the same school and the winning class will be selected to compete against another class in the same region and the winning class will compete at the Ministry level. The winners are awarded.

The second tool of the program is the written exams that are similar to the TIMSS and they are prepared centrally, by experts at the Ministry of Education, and administered in all participating schools in the same day to ensure their reliability. Then they are marked centrally. The scores are sent back to schools and remedial plans are prepared to improve students' performance. In addition to that, good achievers are awarded at the Ministry.
The last tool is the creative projects which are prepared by pairs or individual students. They are evaluated for their effectiveness and practicality. Again the distinguished projects in each governorate are awarded. It is important to mention here that one of these projects won the first place in Sheikha Fadya Al Saad Al Sabah's 11th Scientific Contest for girls for the GCC countries which was recently held in Kuwait in 2011 (A. Al-Salhi, cognitive development program, 27th December 2011).

Objectives of the study:
This study aims at finding the following:
1. The effectiveness of the Cognitive Knowledge Development Program for Students in Science, Mathematics and Concepts of Environmental Geography on the students' achievement level.
2. Students and teachers attitudes towards the program.
3. Challenges facing the Ministry of Education in achieving the program goals.

Importance of the study:

There has been no research shedding lights on this program since it was applied in the Omani government schools in 2007/2008 school year. This study is considered to be the first attempt that aims to give a clear description of the program and its tools. It is also the first study that will highlight its strengths and give recommendations to overcome any challenges that it is facing.

Moreover, this study will form an initial base for other studies that can divert the focus on conducting a comparison study between Oman’s TIMSS 2007 results and Oman’s TIMSS 2011 results (which will be issued in December 2012) where the impact of this program will be much more comprehensible.

Since all the GCC countries are participating in TIMSS, this study will be of great importance for policymakers to know about Omani students experience with this program as this study is going to provide feedback about the newly implemented program in the schools.

Methodology:

One of the research aims is to provide a full description of Cognitive Knowledge Development program. Therefore, conducting a number of interviews with the director of the program in the Ministry of Education at Directorate General of Educational Evaluation and reviewing some documents will be useful to achieve this purpose.

A case study will be carried out to compare students' achievement level before and after implementing this program in order to find out the impact of the program on students’ achievement in Math and Science.

The teachers and students’ attitude toward this program are worth to be investigated by an online survey. The survey will be translated into the Arabic language to ensure reliability of the results. A pilot test will also be conducted in which random sample of teachers and students answer the translated questionnaire to check for clarity.

References:

Al-Maskari, Z., Al-Rasbi, A., Al-Kharusi, S., Al-Bulushi, M., Al-Hanai, A., Al-Mazydi, N., Al-Ramhi, Z., & Al-Harthy, S. (2011). Oman national report for TIMSS 2007. Muscat: Ministry of Education Press.

Al-Salehi, A. (2011, December 27). Personal interview.
 
 
 

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