This article reports the relative effect of Smart and Mainstream schooling on students’ attitudes towards science which was measured using ATSSA(M) -- the Malay version of the Germann's (1988) Attitudes Towards Science in School Assessment (ATSSA) instrument. The participants comprised 775 Form 3 (15-year-old) students from two Smart Schools and two Mainstream Schools. Using students’ Standardised National Examination (SNE) primary-school science achievement results as covariate, the attitudinal data collected were analysed using analysis of covariance (ANCOVA). The results indicated that the level of attitudes towards science of Form 3 students who had participated in the Smart Schools is statistically significantly higher than the level of attitudes towards science of Form 3 students who had participated in the Mainstream Schools. A “statistical triangulation” was provided by performing two further analyses, namely (i) ANCOVA by school and (ii) like-for-like comparison through independent ttests for each entry grade of students, so as to make a convincing case that the main result from the ANCOVA by group was truly the outcome of differences between Smart and Mainstream schooling. The article discusses the findings in terms of parallel impact comparison within the available literature and recommends that future studies should look into isolating specific elements of the Smart Schools Initiative that have direct impact on students’ attitudes towards science.
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