NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED545880
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 547
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2675-6247-0
Teaching for Conceptual Change in a Density Unit Taught to 7th Graders: Comparing Two Teaching Methodologies--Scientific Inquiry and a Traditional Approach
Holveck, Susan E.
ProQuest LLC, D.Ed. Dissertation, University of Oregon
This mixed methods study was designed to compare the effect of using an inquiry teaching methodology and a more traditional teaching methodology on the learning gains of students who were taught a five-week conceptual change unit on density. Seventh graders (N = 479) were assigned to five teachers who taught the same unit on density using either a traditional or an inquiry teaching methodology. Data from five pre-post quantitative and qualitative assessments were used to determine student learning gains. Analysis of the data occurred at four levels: (a) overall student learning, (b) comparing methodologies across all students, (c) comparing methodologies across matched teachers, and (d) comparing methodologies across matched classes. Matching was based on scores from the statewide large-scale assessment of mathematics. Findings were mixed. At level 1, all students made statistically significant learning gains for the density unit. At level 2, results were ambiguous. There were no significant differences found between teaching methodologies for three of the pre-post assessments, but for two of the pre-post assessments, the inquiry group had statistically larger learning gains. When the analysis was performed at level 3, students taught using the inquiry methodology outperformed students taught using the traditional methodology. At level 4, students in high-performing math classes had statistically larger learning gains with the traditional methodology and students in low-performing math classes had greater learning gains with the inquiry methodology. When a multi-level model was used to account for the nested structure of the data, it was found in the inquiry methodology that students with the lowest math scores had the greatest learning gains, while in the traditional methodology, the students with the highest math scores had the greatest learning gains. This cross level interaction was a major finding of the study. Students' content and conceptual understanding of density improved over the course of the density unit, with students in both groups making statistically significant learning gains, moving away from misconceptions about density to accurate qualitative and quantitative explanations. Students in traditional classes made the greatest learning gains at the qualitative level of density explanation, while more students in the inquiry group had a quantitative understanding of density at the end of the study than students in the traditional group. [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:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Grade 7; Junior High Schools; Middle Schools; Elementary Education; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A