Inter-relationship among laboratory process skills in biology



Inquiry oriented practical matriculation tests of 3650 12th grade biology students in Israel were analyzed to find out the interrelationships among 21 process skills. Using correlations and varimax factor analysis, seven factors were obtained. These factors are listed according to the relative percentage of the total variance accounted for from highest to lowest: handling quantitative relationships, explaining and assessing data, conceptualizing and planning investigations, summarizing results, interpreting and concluding, selecting form of presenting findings, designing experiments.

The theoretical and practical implications of these findings are briefly discussed. Theoretically, the associations as well as the dissociations identified provide important clues regarding the organization of process skills related knowledge in cognitive structure. From a practical perspective the findings offer guidance for teacher educators as well as biology teachers on more effective ways for developing science process skills.