A study of concept acquisition and development in children at 8 and 11 years using five assessment of performance unit (APU) science tests: 30 children from each age group completed the tests and 15 from each group were interviewed. The oral and written responses were analysed. It was found that the “languages of experience”, as opposed to the “language of schooling”, issues were a salient feature of the children′s oral responses. Misconceptions were evident in written and oral responses of both age groups. Results indicated that Piaget′s stage theory still has a significant contribution to make to science teaching. Oral testing must be given due stress in assessing pupil achievement.
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