NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED518028
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 11
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 27
A Multilevel Analysis of a Guided Inquiry Curriculum Unit on Motion and Force for a Diverse Student Population in "Ability-Grouped" Classrooms
Rethinam, Vasuki; Lynch, Sharon J.
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness
This study is an evaluation of "Exploring Motion and Forces: Speed, Acceleration, and Friction" ("M&F") developed by ARIES of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (2001). Although "M&F" has been used in many schools and field-tested, it has never been evaluated in rigorous experimental or quasi-experimental studies. This research also asks if "M&F" is equitable, inquiring about its effectiveness in different types of classrooms where 6th grade students are grouped by ability, as well for demographic subgroups of students (ethnicity or by socioeconomic, English for Speakers of Other Languages [ESOL], or disability status). The setting for this study is a large metropolitan school system in the Central Atlantic region of the U.S. This study showed that the "M&F" guided inquiry curriculum unit (with many of the important attributes identified by the Project 2016 Curriculum Analysis as important for effective instruction and learning) yielded higher mean classroom level outcome scores on an assessment of motion and force concepts, ES = 0.65. This study also explored classroom level effects of "M&F" for classrooms with low, medium or high achievement histories, but showed no significant interactions between curriculum condition and classroom achievement history. This indicates that the positive effects of "M&F" were spread more or less evenly across classroom types, an important finding because some types of curriculum materials are often assumed to be better suited for some types of classrooms (and students) than others. The finding that there was a significant interaction in a negative direction for student's eligible for ESOL services when placed in low achievement history classrooms, irrespective of curriculum condition, is particularly worrisome. Students eligible for ESOL services scored lower on the Motion and Forces Assessment (MFA) compared to their peers not eligible for ESOL services. Moreover, ESOL students in the low achievement history classrooms were at a substantial disadvantage compared with their ESOL peers in medium achievement history classrooms. This suggests that "M&F" alone is not making up for placement in low achievement history classrooms, and that some other services are needed. (Contains 2 tables.)
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness. 2040 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208. Tel: 202-495-0920; Fax: 202-640-4401; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Grade 6; Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness (SREE)
Identifiers - Location: United States