Table of Contents
ISRN Education
Volume 2013, Article ID 196014, 13 pages
Review Article

Exploring Epistemological Trends in Students’ Understanding of Science from the Perspective of Large-Scale Studies

1Learning and Society, Malmö University, 205 06 Malmö, Sweden
2Teacher Education, Mid Sweden University, 871 88 Härnösand, Sweden

Received 13 February 2013; Accepted 12 March 2013

Academic Editors: M. Martin, G. Velan, and J. Widera

Copyright © 2013 Anders Jakobsson et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This paper highlights how results from large-scale studies can be used to understand students’ knowledge of science. Several scholars express critique of today’s PISA framework, especially with regard to the presentation of the results as national rankings, and suggest alternative and complementary methods. The present study has used PISA data to reveal hidden patterns in the results. The results show a general descending trend in items focusing on the nature of science and how new scientific knowledge is generated. On the other hand, there is an obvious upward trend regarding tasks that measure fact-based elementary or root knowledge. These trends are slightly differentiated at a national level, as the time and magnitude of the decline or increase may vary.