Date of Award


Document Type

Master's report

Degree Name

Master of Science in Applied Science Education (MS)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences


Kedmon N. Hungwe


The use of intriguing open-ended quick-write prompts within the Basotho science classroom could potentially provide a way for secondary teachers in Lesotho to have a time-efficient alternative to stimulate student thinking and increase critical thinking or application of scientific principles. Writing can be used as a powerful means to improve the achievement of students across many subject areas, including the sciences (Moore, 1993; Rivard, 1994; Rillero, Zambo, Cleland, and Ryan, 1996; Greenstein, 2013). This study focuses on the use of a non-traditional nor extensively studied writing method that could potentially support learning in science.

A quasi-experimental research design, with a control and experimental group, was applied. The study was conducted at two schools, with one experimental classroom in one school and a second control group classroom in the second school for a period of 4 weeks. 51 Form B (US Grade 9 equivalent) students participated as the experimental group and 43 Form B students as the control group. In an effort to assess learning achievement, a 1 hour (35 mark) pre-test evaluation was made by and given to students by Basotho teachers at the beginning of this study to have an idea of student’s previous knowledge. Topics covered were Static Electricity, Current Electricity, Electromagnetic Waves, and Chemistry of Water. After the experimental trial period, an almost completely identical post-test evaluation was given to students in the same fashion to observe and compare gains in achievement.

Test data was analyzed using an inferential statistics procedure that compared means and gains in knowledge made by the experimental and control groups. Difference between the gains of mean pre-test and post-test scores were statistically significant within each group, but were not statistically significant when the control and experimental groups were compared. Therefore, there was no clear practical effect.

Qualitative data from teachers’ journals and students’ written feedback provides insight on the assessments, incorporation of the teaching method, and the development of participating students. Both mid and post-study student feedback shows that students had an overall positive and beneficial experience participating in this activity. Assessments and teacher journals showed areas of strength and weaknesses in student learning and on differences in teaching styles. They also helped support some feedback claims made by students.

Areas of further research and improvement of the incorporation of this teaching method in the Basotho secondary science classroom are explored.