NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1037596
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Apr
Pages: 21
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 42
ISSN: ISSN-1571-0068
The Effect of Plain-English Vocabulary on Student Achievement and Classroom Culture in College Science Instruction
Schoerning, Emily
International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, v12 n2 p307-327 Apr 2014
This study examined the effect of the translation of traditional scientific vocabulary into plain English on student achievement in college science instruction. The study took place in the context of an introductory microbiology course. Data were collected from course sections instructed with traditional microbiology vocabulary as well as sections instructed with plain-English equivalent terms. Both treatment groups followed the same inquiry-based curriculum. Data collected included written and practical exam scores as well as pre and post-course surveys on subject knowledge and impressions of biology, science, and the course. Students subjected to plain-English instruction performed significantly better on written exams that assessed higher-order abilities to apply and analyze knowledge from the course. They gained similar amounts of lower-order knowledge during the course when compared to peers instructed with standard vocabulary. Results supported the hypothesis that improved achievement in the plain-English treatment was caused by students' ability to utilize extant neural networks to ground new learning.
Springer. 233 Spring Street, New York, NY 10013. Tel: 800-777-4643; Tel: 212-460-1500; Fax: 212-348-4505; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A