ERIC Number: EJ1078859
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Dec
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
Impact of Project-Based Curriculum Materials on Student Learning in Science: Results of a Randomized Controlled Trial
Harris, Christopher J.; Penuel, William R.; D'Angelo, Cynthia M.; DeBarger, Angela Haydel; Gallagher, Lawrence P.; Kennedy, Cathleen A.; Cheng, Britte Haugen; Krajcik, Joseph S.
Journal of Research in Science Teaching, v52 n10 p1362-1385 Dec 2015
The "Framework for K-12 Science Education" (National Research Council, 2012) sets an ambitious vision for science learning by emphasizing that for students to achieve proficiency in science they will need to participate in the authentic practices of scientists. To realize this vision, all students will need opportunities to learn from high-quality curriculum materials where they engage in science practices. We report on our study of a middle school curriculum called "Project-Based Inquiry Science" that has some design features that match well with the new directions in science education. To measure the impact of these materials, we conducted a randomized controlled trial in sixth grade science classrooms across 42 schools in an urban school district. We randomly assigned schools to either a treatment condition where teachers implemented the project-based science curriculum or a comparison condition where teachers implemented the district-adopted textbook. Teachers in both conditions received professional development on the "Framework". Students who participated in the project-based science curriculum outperformed students in the comparison curriculum on outcome measures that were aligned to core science ideas and science practices in the "Framework". Importantly, the results show that project-based curriculum materials that incorporate science practices along with disciplinary content can help students achieve next generation science learning outcomes when there is coherence with district guidance about instruction. The study findings suggest that curriculum materials, district involvement, and support for teachers' implementation of new forms of instruction are important for realizing the vision and key principles of the "Framework" in the context of a large and diverse urban school district.
Descriptors: Active Learning, Student Projects, Instructional Materials, Science Curriculum, Middle Schools, Grade 6, Urban Schools, Randomized Controlled Trials, Middle School Students, Science Achievement
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Middle Schools; Secondary Education; Junior High Schools; Grade 6; Intermediate Grades; Elementary Education
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
IES Grant or Contract Numbers: 1020407