The efficacy of an inquiry-oriented learning environment in enhancing the performance of high school physics students

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Science Education Major in Physics

Subject Categories

Secondary Education and Teaching


Br. Andrew Gonzalez FSC College of Education


Science Education

Thesis Adviser

Melecio C. Deauna

Defense Panel Chair

Bee Ching U. Ong

Defense Panel Member

Filma Brawner
Reuben V. Quiroga
Robert C. Roleda
Manuel Eugenio


This study investigates the efficacy of an inquiry-oriented learning environment in enhancing the performance of high school physics students.The study used the nonequivalent control group design. The inquiry strategies used were those by Driver and Oldham (1986) and Meyer and Woodruff (1997). Improvement of students taught with the use of the inquiry model was compared with the group taught the traditional mode. Students' reading comprehension were correlated with achievement in the inquiry group. The teacher's attitude toward the inquiry strategy was investigated using ISTS and interviews. Students' views and attitudes about the use of the inquiry model were solicited through interviews from randomly selected students in the inquiry class. Two study groups were used to determine which group the inquiry model worked well. The sample consisted of 76 fourth year high school students of Bicol University College of Education Laboratory High School (BUCELHS), an academically-oriented high school and 66 fourth year high school students of Bicol University College of Industrial Technology Laboratory High School (BUCITLHS), a vocationally-oriented high school. Research instruments used to gather quantitative data were the Otis Lennon Mental Ability Test, Piagetian Test for Cognitive Development, Reading Comprehension Test, a 23-item Multiple Choice Test on Heat and Temperature, 50-item Heat and Temperature Test for Understanding, 60-item Questionnaire on Attitude Towards Physics, Inquiry Teaching Strategies. Interviews with teachers and students, observation instruments, and checklists were used to gather the qualitative data.

Analysis revealed that: 1.a) In academically-oriented school (AOS), there was no significant difference in achievement in content knowledge, contrary to the significant difference in the vocationally-oriented school (VOS) favoring the inquiry group. 1.b) In the AOS, there was a significant difference in achievement in the application portion of the test favoring the inquiry group, in achievement in understanding the concepts of heat favoring the inquiry group, and in laboratory performance favoring the inquiry group while in all these, the VOS showed no significant difference. 1.c) Student performance in the application level and part B of the heat and temperature test was dependent on students' cognitive level which means that formal thinkers performed better than concrete thinkers. 1.f) Other performance levels showed no significant dependence on students' cognitive level. 1.g) All types of tests showed no significant interaction effects between teaching method and cognitive level. 2) In the AOS, there was a significant improvement in the level of students' cognitive development in both inquiry and traditional groups while VOS showed a significant improvement in the cognitive level in the inquiry but not in the traditional group. 3) In both inquiry study groups, reading comprehension was not significantly correlated with student performance. 4) In the AOS, both the inquiry and the traditional groups acquired a more positive attitude towards physics, while in the VOS, inquiry group acquired a negative attitude contrary to the traditional group of students who gained a positive attitude. 5) Both teachers of BUCELHS and BUCITLHS showed similar attitude towards the inquiry strategy. 6) The results showed that the inquiry strategy worked well with the academically-oriented students.

Abstract Format






Accession Number


Shelf Location

Archives, The Learning Commons, 12F Henry Sy Sr. Hall

Physical Description

188 numb. leaves ; Computer print-out


Learning ability--Testing; Academic achievement; High school students; Teaching--Methods; Effective teaching

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