Effect of Hands-on Science Activities on Ghanaian Student Learning, Attitudes, and Career Interest: A Preliminary Control Study

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Heather Beem


A quasi-experimental study was carried out with 309 students across 9 public Junior High Schools in the Greater Accra Region of Ghana. The effect of $<$Blinded Institution$>$'s approach of training STEM teachers on low-cost approaches to employing hands-on activities was studied in terms of student learning and attitudes towards science. Experimental schools received weekly teacher training over a 2.5 month period. Pre-post differences were measured across both experimental and control schools. The intervention caused an average difference-in-differences of 10.9% increase in exam scores, but the results were mixed at the school-level. The intervention caused a significant increase in student engagement in the lessons (p = 3 x 10-7, g = 0.85). On average, there was also a 22% greater increase in student enjoyment of science at the experimental schools than the control schools. No significant change was measured in the ease of learning science. Females reported a significant shift in interest towards STEM majors and careers, while their male counterparts did not. Results from this study should inform the design of future studies with longer duration and which take factors such as quality of school infrastructure into account.


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