The shortage of scientists in South Africa today can be attributed to poor teacher
development especially in Natural Sciences. Educator interpretation and integration of
assessment standards when conducting scientific investigations in Natural Sciences in the
Intermediate Phase, is what this study sought to explore.
The National Curriculum Statement (NCS) policy outlines the seven roles to be fulfilled by
educators in the Norms and Standards for educators. However, this investigation focused
mainly on the two roles for educators:
· Interpreters and designers of learning programmes and materials (LO 1: Scientific
· Scholars, researchers and lifelong learners (DoE, 2002:3)
The five schools sampled are from Mankweng area, situated in the Capricorn district in
Limpopo province of South Africa. The data was qualitatively collected using the interviews,
observations and document analysis as strategies. Before the investigation starts, all
participants were told that the investigation was on how they (educators) design (plan),
present and assess learners when conducting Learning Outcome 1: Scientific Investigations
and how they integrate the assessment standards. The observation and interview schedules
were clarified during the meeting.
The study revealed that most educators do not know different types of scientific
investigations, their lessons designed showed little understanding of LO 1: Scientific
Investigations and the integration of assessment standards which are: 1. Planning
investigation 2. Conducting scientific investigation and collecting data. 3. Evaluating data
and communicate findings. Data analysed revealed that most educators have little
understanding and follow a direct teaching style, and thus Construct Scientific Knowledge
(LO 2). Only one educator of the 13 observed and interviewed was able to integrate
assessment standards 1 and 2. There is a relationship between the level of qualification and
better understanding of NCS implementation because the educator above is a scholar,
researcher and lifelong learner.
I recommend that educators teaching Natural Sciences be work shopped by knowledgeable
curriculum advisors (teacher development) on how to teach Scientific Investigations LO 1. And in addition, support should be given to educators on implementing new curricula such as
NCS and CAPS ensuring that teacher development is priority. Finally, to ensure that LO 1
can be effectively taught in schools, science kits should be made available to all schools
whereas the importance of laboratories cannot be overemphasised.