The influence of the guided constructivist instructional model on attitudes toward secondary-level physics

Kamel Salim Dallal


The effect of guided constructivism (bridging analogies) and expository instructional methods on the attitudes of students toward physics was investigated. A nonrandomize nonequivalent pretest-posttest control group quasi-experimental design was employed. The sample consisted of 127 eleventh-grade and twelfth-grade students from five selected classes from two private high schools in Beirut, Lebanon. Two intact classes were assigned to the control group and three classes to the experimental group. The experimental group was exposed to the bridging analogies instructional method, and the control group was taught using the traditional expository method. A Likert-type instrument, the Physics Attitude Index, was used to measure attitudes on four dimensions. The 40-item Physics Attitude Index (PAI) is a questionnaire using a five response scale. Performance in the assigned topics in physics, cognitive developmental levels, and gender were used as covariants and to examine interaction effects. The experimental groups had significantly higher means than the control groups on all criterion variables. A significant interaction was found between groups and performance levels in the following cases: (a) criterion variable of attitude toward physics; (b) views toward physics learning; and (c) enjoyment of physics. This result indicated that the low performing students among the experimental group had greater gain in attitude toward physics than the high performing students in same group. On the other hand, no interaction occurred between treatment groups and gender, which shows that in this study gender has no significant effect on attitude toward physics. Significant interactions between the treatment groups and cognitive levels were found on the criterion variable of beliefs about physics as a process of learning and enjoyment of physics. In both cases, the difference between the group means were widely different among students at the concrete and transitional levels, but narrowly different among students at the formal level.