Preconceptions about technical systems prevalent amongst upper secondary school pupils

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Ümit Köycü
Marc de Vries


In the Netherlands there is an interest in implementing engineering as part of K-12 general education. In order to know what the pupils' perception of the system concept at that level is, research into that was conducted. This study was not only carried out in the Netherlands in six schools across the country, but for comparison also in Turkey in six schools across the country. During the qualitative preparation of the research, the pupils were asked to describe what a technical system is according to them. In the quantitative main part of the study, pupils were asked to respond to 44 True/False statements in which they could indicate what a technical system is. Factor analysis has been performed to reveal the dimensions of the concept of systems that the pupils have in their minds. In contrast to studies among pupils of the lower secondary school, a clear concept about a technical system was found. The differences between male and female respondents with regard to the concept of the system, found in lower secondary education, were also found in upper secondary education. This is in contrast with what was found for the concept of engineering. The predominant knowledge of pupils with regard to the concept of the system indicated a reasonable image of technology, depending on whether it is taught in a school subject. 

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