International Journal of Advanced and Applied Sciences

Int. j. adv. appl. sci.

EISSN: 2313-3724

Print ISSN: 2313-626X

Volume 4, Issue 3  (March 2017), Pages:  13-18

Title: Scientific reasoning skills based on socio-scientific issues in the biology subject

Author(s):  Muhamad Ikhwan Mat Saad 1, *, Sadiah Baharom 2, Siti Eshah Mokhsein 1


1Faculty of Education and Human Development, Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris, Tanjung Malim, Perak, Malaysia
2Faculty of Science and Mathematics, Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris, Tanjung Malim, Perak, Malaysia

Full Text - PDF          XML


Learning strategies using Socio-Scientific Issues (SSI) are approaches that will meet the characteristics of 21st Century Skills (K-21) and upgrade the Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS). One of the reasons of the unfavorable TIMMS and PISA results in Malaysia because students’ incompetent to answer science reasoning question based on scientific issues that occur in their daily lives. SSI is a dimension that is used in the assessment of the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMMS) and Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) which consists of the issue of the environment, medicine, health and genetic engineering. The purpose of this study is to assess the scientific reasoning level of Form Four science students in the biology subject based on SSI. Quantitative approaches surveys have been used in this study. The SSI instruments used were adapted. Total of 450 Form Four science students are samples used in this study. Findings revealed the needs of students should be discovered to levels of SSI reasoning approach because the results have shown that students’ accomplishment are still low or medium level. In addition, students are incompetent to relate the concepts of science and socio-scientific issues. In conclusion, the potential of SSI approach introduced in the research and development process to enable students to master the concept of science, achieve the objectives of learning in the biology and upgrade the Higher Order Thinking. One of the implication of this research is to facilitate policy makers in implementing Biological Education Excellence in Malaysia through the development of model of Scientific Reasoning Skills. 

© 2017 The Authors. Published by IASE.

This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (

Keywords: Socio-scientific issues, Reasoning skills, Higher order thinking skills

Article History: Received 6 November 2016, Received in revised form 7 January 2017, Accepted 8 January 2017

Digital Object Identifier:


Saad MIM, Baharom S, and Mokhsein SE (2017). Scientific reasoning skills based on socio-scientific issues in the biology subject. International Journal of Advanced and Applied Sciences, 4(3): 13-18


Anat Z and Dori YJ (2003). Higher order thinking skills and low-achieving students: Are they mutually exclusive?. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 12(2): 145-181.
Bell RL and Lederman NG (2003). Understandings of the nature of science and decision making on science and technology based issues. Science Education, 87(3): 352-377.
Bingle WH and Gaskell PJ (1994). Scientific literacy for decision making and the social construction of scientific knowledge. Science Education, 78(2): 185-201.
Bransford JD, Brown AL, and Cocking RR (2000). How people learn: Brain, mind, experience, and school. National Academy Press, Washington DC, USA.
PMid:10946528 PMCid:PMC2608581
Driver R, Leach J, Millar R, and Scott P (1996). Young people's images of science. Open University Press, Buckingham, UK.
Duggan S and Gott R (2002). What sort of science education do we really need?. International Journal of Science Education, 24(7): 661-679.
Evagorou M (2011). Discussing a socio-scientific issue in a primary school classroom: The case of using a technology supported environment in formal and non-formal settings. In: Sadler TD (Eds.), Socio-Scientific Issues in the Classroom: Teaching, Learning and Research: 131-160. Springer, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Fleming G (1986). Chemical applications of ultrafast spectroscopy. Oxford University Press, UK.
Hogan K (2002). Small groups' ecological reasoning while making an environmental Management decision. Journal of Research in Science Teaching. 39(4): 341-368.
King PM and Kitchener KS (1994). Developing reflective part: Understanding and promoting intellectual growth and critical thinking in adolescents and adults. Jossey-Bass Conventional Publishers, California, USA.
Kolsto SD (2001). Scientific literacy for citizenship: Tools for dealing with the science dimension of controversial socio scientific issues. Science Education, 85(3): 291-310.
Kuhn D (1991). The skills of argument. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, England.
Lawson AE and Wollman WT (2003). Encouraging the transition from concrete to formal cognitive functioning-an experiment. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 40 (Suppl.): 33-50.
Means ML and Voss JF (1996). Who reasons well? Two studies of informal reasoning among children of different grade, ability, and knowledge levels. Cognition and Instruction, 14(2): 139-178.
Newmann FM (1990). Higher order thinking in teaching social studies: A using for the assessment of classroom thoughtfulness. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 22(1): 41-56.
North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (NCREL) (2003). Engage 21st century skills: Literacy in the Digital Age. Available online at:
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) (2012). PISA 2012 technical report programme for international student assessment. OECD Publishing, Paris, France.
Patronis T, Potari D, and Spiliotopoulou V (1999). Students' argumentation in decision-making on a socio-scientific issue: Implications for teaching. International Journal of Science Education, 21(7): 745-754.
Perkins DN, Farady M, and Bushey B (1991). Everyday reasoning and the roots of intelligence. In: Voss JF, Perkins DN, and Segal JW (Eds.). Informal Reasoning and Education: 83-105. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Inc, New Jersey, USA.
Perry WG (1999). Forms of intellectual and ethical development in the college years: A scheme. Jossey-Bass Publishers, California, USA.
Peter AD (2014). Science and society: Scientific thought and education for the 21st century. Jones and Barlett Learning, Massachusetts, USA.
Piaget J (1972). Intellectual evolution from adolescence to adulthood. Human Development, 15(1): 1-12.
Sadler TD, Chambers FW, and Zeidler DL (2004). Student conceptualizations of the nature of science in response to a socio scientific issue. International Journal of Science Education, 26(4): 387-409.
Tal R, Dori YJ Keiny S, and Zoller U (2013). The conceptual change of teachers beginning in STES education and curriculum development-The STEMS Project Approach. International Journal of Science Education, 23(3): 247-261.
Tytler R, Duggan S, and Gott R (2003). Dimensions of data analysis, the public understanding of science and science education. International Journal of Science Education, 23(8): 815-832.
Zeidler DL (2003). The role of moral reasoning and the status of socioscientific issues in science education. Springer, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Zeidler DL and Keefer M (2003). The role of moral reasoning and discourse on socio scientific issues in science education. In: Zeidler DL (eds.), The Role of Moral Reasoning and the Status of Socioscientific Issues in Science Education: Philosophical, Psychological and Pedagogical Considerations: 7-38. Springer, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Zeidler DL and Nichols BH (2009). Socioscientific issues: Theory and practice. Journal of Elementary Science Education, 21(2): 49-58.
Zeidler DL and Schafer LE (1984). Identifying mediating factors of moral reasoning in science education. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 21(1): 1-5.
Zeidler DL, Walker KA, Ackett WA, and Simmons ML (2002). Tangled up in views: Beliefs in the nature of science and responses to socioscientific dilemmas. Science Education, 86(3): 343-367.
Zimmerman C (2005). The development of scientific reasoning skills: What psychologists contribute to an understanding of elementary science learning? Available online at:
Zohar A and Nemet F (2002). Fostering students' knowledge and argumentation skills through dilemmas in human genetics. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 39(1): 35-62.
Zohar A, Degani A and Vaaknin E (2001). Teachers about low achieving students and higher order thinking. Teaching and Teachers' Education, 17(4): 469-485.