The nature of Formal Reasoning among Ghanaian Basic School pupils in General Science Logic Tasks

  • MK Amedeker
  • L Abdul-Rahman


Many Psychologists have considered early formal thinking among adolescents as signs of normal development. As it is not known for certain at what age Ghanaian Junior Secondary School (JSS) pupils achieve formal operational capabilities, the study seeks to find out the relationship between Piagetian theory of development and the extent of formal thinking among adolescent pupils, especially in General Science Logic tasks. This study thus used two sets of questionnaire involving “General Knowledge Logic Tasks” and “General Science Logic Tasks” based on topics chosen from the JSS science syllabus to test the logical reasoning of pupils between ages of 13 and 15 years. A total of 60 pupils were selected randomly from four junior secondary schools and tested on the questionnaire. The sample was made up of 15 pupils (with 5 from each of JSS 1 to JSS 3) from each school. They were then served with the same items. The marks they obtained on the two examinations were used to determine the extent of their formal reasoning as well as their maturity. It was found, rather surprisingly, that the older pupils did less formal reasoning than the younger ones. That is, the younger pupils in JSS 1 (age 13-14 years) performed better on the tests than those in JSS 2 (ages 14-15 years) and JSS 3 (ages 15 –16 years). It was also found that on the average all pupils performed better on the General Knowledge tasks than on the General Science tasks, implying that pupils\' formal reasoning was not subject oriented. This anomaly may be attributed to the fact that many pupils resort to rote learning and as a result forget soon afterward what they had learned while their knowledge of happenings around them lasted longer.

African Journal of Educational Studies in Mathematics and Sciences Vol. 3 2005: pp. 9-19

Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 2508-1128