Science Process Skills and Appraisal of Engineering Students’ Critical Thinking Skills Using Problem-based Learning Approach

Elizabeth Alcomendras-Barosa and Fidela Q. Arañes

The study was conducted to determine the effect of Problem-Based Learning Approach (PBLA) on the science process skills (SPS) and critical thinking skills (CTS) of students in inorganic chemistry. Specifically, it sought to answer the performance of the students in Science Process Skills Test, students’ SPS manifested and levels of CTS in the Critical Thinking Appraisal before and after PBLA and their experiences on PBL approach. One group pre-test-post-test preexperimental design was utilized in the study. Through convenience sampling, one intact class consisting of 50 first year Bachelor of Science in Electronics Communication Engineering (BSECE) students enrolled during the second semester of SY 2015-2016 was used for the study. PBL laboratory activities, SPST, CTA, students’ experience survey (SES), the scoring rubric for laboratory report and the observation checklist were the instruments used. The study found out that that there is significant difference between the pre-test and post-test mean scores of the students in the SPST and CTA. This indicates that the use of PBLA improved students’ SPS and level of CTS. The students’ SPS that were manifested before PBLA were observing and experimenting (46.67%), inferring (45%), and interpreting (44%); while after exposure the SPS were observing (66.67%), interpreting (66.00%), experimenting (62.67%), inferring (57.00%), and communicating (55.00%). The most improved SPS after exposure to PBLA were inferring (47.69%), quantifying and classifying (45.38%), and observing (40.00%) while the most developed skills were classifying (33.05%), predicting (26.27%), and quantifying (25.42%). The students’ overall experience survey revealed that the students agree on doing another PBL class, they were comfortable with working in groups, and would like to take another opportunity to plan their own experiment to further develop their scientific skills. This study concludes that PBLA tends to enhance and developed their acquired skills in chemistry laboratory.