Measuring Students’ Attitudes Towards Social Studies Homeworks: developing an attitude scale

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Abstract


Learning includes what a student obtains from the school, home and the other social environments. While preparing a learning task, most teachers aim to formulate their problems modelled from the real life situations. However, most of the times they end up with those isolated and distant problem-situations, because they also feel themselves obliged to present students plain and comprehensible tasks. As a result, a disconnection between school learning and real life situation occurs.
One aim of giving students homeworks is to build a bridge between home and school, which will make it easier for students to transfer their school learning to the real life situations. Homeworks play important roles in fulfillig the purpose of the learning processes. In other words, homeworks asist teachers in teaching of accesing information resources, thinking meaningully and doing reserach, developing causation and problem solving skills and updating their subject knowledge-information. Homeworks also help students to improve their communicative and entrepreneurial capacities.
For students, homeworks mean doing or implementing the activities given by their teachers, practising newly learned skills and working independently. Homeworks might be formed from those activities, preparations and other things that students perform in accordance with their teachers demand and instruction. There are four types of homeworks mentioned in the relavant literature. They are practicing homeworks, preparatory homeworks, supplemantary homeworks and project works.
The review of the relevant literature reveals that the number of studies dealing with how students perceive, understand and implement social studies homeworks and how they develop attitudes about social studies homeworks and thier functions the presses of learning is quite limited. Therefore, in order to make homeworks meaningful and functional in intructional processes it is seen obligatory and necessary to determine students’ attitudes about them.
An attitude is “an affective tendency, readiness or behaviour through which people reveal their thoughts or feelings of confirming or disconfirming the issues about a group, a person, an institution or a point of view.” In the literature, there are three ways mentioned to determine e person’s attitude about an object, a view point or an idividual. Those ways are inferencing from physiological reactions, inferencing from open behaviours and developing an attitude scale. In this work, developing an attitude scale was preferred, because of its economic advantages and the time limits restricting the study.
The aim of this study is to develop a scale for assessing grade six and grade seven primary school students’ attitudes towards social studies homeworks. Based on the relevant literature, a likert type attitude scale comprising of 38 items was designed first. Then, some of the items were deleted after the initial reviews.
The final scale composed of 32 items were applied to the 298 students attending three primary schools in central Ankara. In order to assure the content validity of the scale, three academics specialised on social studies education are invited to examine the initial version of it. The principal component analysis was used to obtain evidence for validity of the scale. As a result of this analysis, it has been determined that the scale has a structure composed of only one factor. The distinquishing characteristics of every item in the scale were also calculated fort the same purpose. The relaibility of the scale was assessed through its internal consistency coefficient. The results were found as Cr?= 0,94 and item test correlation of the scale r=91. According to the findings it could be claimed that the scale has the required qualifications of validity and relaibity to adequetly measure students’ attitudes towards social studies homeworks.

Keywords


Homeworks, Social studies homeworks, Students’ attitudes, Attitude scale

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