Exploring a Direct Relationship between Students’ Problem-Solving Abilities and Academic Achievement: A STEM Education at a Coffee Plantation Area

Factors affecting the quality of education can be observed from students’ problem-solving abilities and academic learning achievements. This research aims to examine a direct relationship between students’ problem-solving abilities and academic learning achievement by using a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education at a coffee plantation area in Indonesia. In analyzing data, students’ problem-solving abilities and academic learning achievements were exposed to quantitative descriptive of correlation bivariate rank Spearman. This study consisted of 148 junior-high-school students in a coffee plantation area. The results indicated that there was a positive correlation between the students’ problem-solving abilities and academic learning achievements in favor of STEM education. This means that the more problem-solving skills the students have, the better academic learning achievement they perform. These positiveresults recommend that the integrated STEM education, as an approach, should be included varied contexts, especially in the Asian region. Moreover, science teachers should hone students’ problem-solving skills via a mixed way, e.g., the integrated STEM education. In addition, STEM education will be helpful for students (who especially work and live in plantation areas) to understand the role of science in their everyday lives.


Akgunduz, D. (2016). A Research about the placement of the top thousand students placed in STEM fields in Turkey between the years 2000 and 2014. Eurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science & Technology Education, 12(5), 1365-1377

Angier, N. (2010). STEM education has little to do with flowers. Retrieved from Science: https://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/05/science/05angier.html.

Aslam, F., Adefila, A., & Bagiya, Y. (2018). STEM outreach activities: An approach to teachers’ professional development. Journal of Education for Teaching, 44(1), 58-70.

Bahar, M. & Aksüt, P. (2020). Investigation on the effects of activity-based science teaching practices in the acquisition of problem-solving skills for 5-6-year-old pre-school children. Journal of Turkish Science Education, 17(1), 22-39.

Baseya, J. M., & Francis, C. D. (2011). Design of inquiry-oriented science labs: impacts on students’ attitudes. Research in Science & Technological Education, 29(3), 241-255.

Bennett, R.E. (2011). Formative assessment: acritical review.Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice,18(2), 5–25.

Breiner, J. M., Harkness , S. S., Johnson, C. C.,& Koehler, C. M. (2012). What is STEM? a discussion about conceptions of STEM in education and partnerships. School Science and Mathematics, 112(1), 3-11.

Chiang, C.l., & Lee, H. (2016). The effect of project-based learning on learning motivation and problem-solving ability of vocational highschool students. International Journal of Information and Education Technology, 6(9), 709-712.

Fadel, C.(2008).21Stcentury skills: how can you prepare students for the new global economy(CISCO). Accessed June, 2018 athttp://www.oecd.org/site/educeri21st/ 40756908.pdf

Gasse, R. V., Vanlommel, K., & Petegem, P. V. (2016). Teacher collaboration on the use of pupil learning outcome data: a rich environment for professional learning?Teaching and Teacher Education, 60, 387-397.

Gülen, S. & Yaman, S. (2019). The effect of integration of STEM disciplines into Toulmin's argumentation model on students’ academic achievement, reflective thinking, and psychomotor skills. Journal of Turkish ScienceEducation, 16(2), 216-230.

Gupta, M., Pasrija, P., & Kavita. (2015). Effect of problem-solving ability on academic achievement of high school students: A comparative study. Bhartiyam International Journal of Education & Research, 4(2), 45-59.

Han, S., Rosli, R., Capraro, M, M., & Capraro, R.M. (2016). The effect of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) project-based learning (PBL) on students’ achievement in four mathematics topics. Journal of Turkish Science Education, 13, 3-29.

Herschbach, D.R. (2011). The STEM initiative: Constraints and challenges. Journal of STEMTeacher Education, 48(1), 96–112.

Higgins, J. (2005). The Radical Statistician.California: Ed.D Copyright.

Hofstein, A.,& Lunetta, V.N. (2004). The laboratory in science education: Foundations for the twenty-first century. Science Education,88(1). 28-54.

Hooker, C. (2017). A proposed universal model of problem solving for design, science and cognate fields. NewIdeas in Psychology, 41-48.

Isabelle, A.D & Zinn, G.A. (2017). STEPS to STEM: A science curriculum supplement for upper elementary and middle school grades-teacher edition. Rotterdam; Sense Publisher.

Kent, C., Laslo, E., & Rafaeli, S. (2016). Interactivity in online discussions and achievements. Computers & Education, 97, 116-128.

Kleebbua, C., & Siriparp, T. (2016). Effects of education and attitude on essential learning outcomes. Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences, 217,941-949.

Krathwohl. (2002). A revision of Bloom's Taxonomy: An overview-theory into practice. Retrieved from Bloom's Taxonomy of Learning Domains: http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/hrd/bloom.html

LeadStates.(2013).Next generation science standards:forstates, bystates.Washington, DC:The National Academies Press.

Mayer,R.E.(2014).Cognitive theory of multi media learning. In R.E. Mayer(Ed.),Cambridgehandbooksinpsychology.The Cambridge handbook of multi media learning (pp.43-71). NewYork, NY, US:Cambridge University Press.

Mefoh, P.C., Nwoke, M.B., Chukwuorji, J.C., & Chijioke, A.O. (2017). Effect of cognitive style and gender on adolescents’ problem solving ability. Thinking Skills and Creativity, 47-52.

Milaturrahmah, N., Mardiyana., & Pramudya, I. (2017). Science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) as mathematics learning approach in 21st century. The 4th International Conference on Research, Implementation, and Education of Mathematics and Science(4th ICRIEMS). AIP Conference Proceedings 1868, 050024 (2017).

Mustafić, M., Niepel, C., & Greiff, S. (2017). Assimilation and contrast effects in the formation of problem-solving self-concept. Learning and Individual Differences, 54, 82-91.

Molnár, G., &Csapó, B (2018). The efficacy and development of students’ problem-solving strategies during compulsory schooling: Logfile analyses. Frontier ofPsychology. 9:302.

Moore, T.J., Stohlmann, M.S., Wang, H-H., Tank, KM., Glancy, A., & Roehrig, G.H (2014). Implementation and integration of engineering in K-12 STEM education. In J Strobel, S Purzer, M Cardella (Eds.), Engineering in precollege settings: Research into practice, (pp. 35–59). West Lafayette: Purdue University Press.

OECD (2014). PISA 2012 results:creative problem solving. Students’ skills in tackling real-life problems, Vol 5, Paris: OECD.

Olivarez, N.R. (2012). The Impact of a STEM Program on Academic learning achievementof Eighth Grade Students in a South Texas Middle School. A Dissertation. Texas A & M University -Corpus Christi.

Parmin & Sajidan. (2019).The application of STEM education in science learning at schools in industrial areas. Journal of Turkish Science Education, 16(2), 278-289.

Polya. (1973). How to solve it, Second Edition.NewJersey: Princeton University Press.

Sajadi. (2013). The examining mathematical word problems solving ability under efficient representation aspect. International Scientific Publications and Consulting Service, 13, 1-11.

Sanders, M. (2009). STEM, STEM education, STEM mania. The Technology Teacher,68(4), 20–26.

Sarican, G., & Akgunduz, D. (2018). The impact of integrated STEM education on academic achievement, reflective thinking skills towards problem solving and permanence in learning in science education. Cypriot Journal of Educational Sciences, 13(1), 94-107.

Saroyan, A., & Trigwell, K. (2015). Higher education teachers’ professional learning: Process and outcome. Studies in Educational Evaluation, 92-101.

Shute, V.J & Wang, L. (2015). Measuring problem solving skills in portal 2. Switzerland: Springer International Publishing.

Supapidhayakul. (2011). The basic Principles for teaching in general education courses. The Thai Journal of GeneralEducation, 2(2), 41-45.

Suratno & Dian, K. (2017). Performance profile of the coffee plantation area students in solving the math-science problem. Advanced Science Letters, 23(2), 1016-1018.

Tok, T. N., Tok, Ş., & Dolapçıoğlu, S. D. (2014). The perception levels of the novice teachers’ problem-solving skills. World Conference on Educational Sciences -WCES 2013(pp. 415-420). Elsevier Ltd.

Wahono, B., Rosalina, A.M., Utomo, A.P., & Narulita, E. (2018). Developing STEM based student’s book for grade XII Biotechnology topics. Journal of Education and Learning, 12(3), 450-456.

Wahono, B., &Chang, C.-Y. (2019a). Assessing teacher’s attitude, knowledge, and application (AKA) on STEM: An effort to foster the sustainable development of STEM education. Sustainability, 11(4), 950.

Wahono, B., & Chang, C.-Y. (2019b). Developmentand validation of a survey instrument (AKA) towards attitude, knowledge and application of STEM. Journal of Baltic Science Education, 18(1), 63-76.

Kaynak Göster