The Fidelity of Implementation of an Innovative Science Programme in a Secondary School

Project Number
OER 14/08 LYJ

Project Duration
March 2009 - August 2011

Status
Completed

Abstract
Studying the implementation of curricular innovations in education has not advanced as much as it should have despite the long history and ubiquity of intervention projects. Researchers of curriculum have not appreciated what evaluators already recognize as a linchpin towards an evidence-based appraisal whether an intervention has achieved its targets�the fidelity of implementation (FOI). Until recently, implementation fidelity or the degree to which a curricular intervention was undertaken as originally designed in terms of its conceptual philosophy, resources, and instruction was severely neglected. This oversight has resulted in policymakers being unable to attribute outcome failure to either inadequate program theory or poor enactment. However, having information on FOI during efficacy or effectiveness studies will pinpoint those factors that contribute towards program success. This project will therefore examine an innovative science program (ScienceAlive!) in a secondary school in Singapore to determine its effectiveness from a fidelity perspective. Previous research on ScienceAlive! has yielded mixed and ambiguous outcomes: There seems to be misalignment between the planned, enacted, and achieved curriculum. Without studying the FOI here, we are unable to examine if program or contextual factors were causal determinants for its outcomes, if indeed the benefits (e.g., science inquiry skills and affect towards the subject) can be measured with validity in the first instance. As well, this project will analyse the curricular adaptations and contingencies that mediated the implementation of ScienceAlive! and affirm the usefulness of FOI for intervention policies. Finally, it is hoped that the study will introduce the FOI framework to curriculum researchers in Singapore and help raise the standards of inquiry here.

Research Themes
Science

Funding Source
NIE

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