Increasingly in elementary schools, there has been a focus on the influence of school-level factors on students' learning. The way in which the learning environment is organised in schools and classrooms is likely to influence students' opportunities to carry out inquiry. Most studies have focused on the effects of the amount of schooling, rather than effects attributable to support for inquiry in the school context. This study clarifies aspects of school contexts that support inquiry at the school level and describes the development of an inventory to assess school contexts. The Primary School Characteristics Inventory has three components named Motivation for Student Inquiry, Organisational Structures to Support Inquiry and Structures to Support Inquiry Strategies in School. The instrument was effective for identifying schools with varying levels of support for inquiry, suggesting that some schools might need to modify the school context if students are to carry out inquiry in a self-directed way.
- School context
- Self-directed learning