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ERIC Number: ED530266
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 275
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1094-8319-2
ISSN: N/A
Depth and Breadth: Bridging the Gap between Scientific Inquiry and High-Stakes Testing with Diverse Junior High School Students
Kang, Jee Sun Emily
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of California, Santa Barbara
This study explored how inquiry-based teaching and learning processes occurred in two teachers' diverse 8th grade Physical Science classrooms in a Program Improvement junior high school within the context of high-stakes standardized testing. Instructors for the courses examined included not only the two 8th grade science teachers, but also graduate fellows from a nearby university. Research was drawn from inquiry-based instruction in science education, the achievement gap, and the high stakes testing movement, as well as situated learning theory to understand how opportunities for inquiry were negotiated within the diverse classroom context. Transcripts of taped class sessions; student work samples; interviews of teachers and students; and scores from the California Standards Test in science were collected and analyzed. Findings indicated that the teachers provided structured inquiry in order to support their students in learning about forces and to prepare them for the standardized test. Teachers also supported students in generating evidence-based explanations, connecting inquiry-based investigations with content on forces, proficiently using science vocabulary, and connecting concepts about forces to their daily lives. Findings from classroom data revealed constraints to student learning: students' limited language proficiency, peer counter culture, and limited time. Supports were evidenced as well: graduate fellows' support during investigations, teachers' guided questioning, standardized test preparation, literacy support, and home-school connections. There was no statistical difference in achievement on the Forces Unit test or science standardized test between classes with graduate fellows and without fellows. There was also no statistical difference in student performance between the two teachers' classrooms, even though their teaching styles were very different. However, there was a strong correlation between students' achievement on the chapter test and their achievement on the Forces portion of the CST. Students' English language proficiency and socioeconomic status were also strongly correlated with their achievement on the standardized test. Notwithstanding the constraints of standardized testing, the teachers had students practice the heart of inquiry--to connect evidence with explanations and process with content. Engaging in inquiry-based instruction provided a context for students, even English language learners, to demonstrate their knowledge of forces. Students had stronger and more detailed ideas about concepts when they engaged in activities that were tightly connected to the concepts, as well as to their lives and experiences. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page: http://www.proquest.com/en-US/products/dissertations/individuals.shtml.]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site: http://www.proquest.com/en-US/products/dissertations/individuals.shtml
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Grade 8; Junior High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A