Examining the Effects of a Highly Rated Science Curriculum Unit on Diverse Students: Results from a Planning Grant
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of a highly rated curriculum unit on a diverse student population. The treatment was introduced to 1500 8th grade students in five middle schools selected for their ethnic, linguistic, and socio-economic diversity. Students were given pre-, post- and delayed post-tests on a Conservation of Matter Assessment and measures of motivation and engagement. This quasi-experiment found statistically significant posttest results for achievement, basic learning engagement, and goal orientation.
Analysis of disaggregated data showed that subgroups of students in the treatment condition outscored their comparison group peers (n =1500) in achievement in all cases, except for students currently enrolled in ESOL. Analysis of video data of a diverse group of four students as the unit was implemented suggested that students entered a learning environment that permitted them to function in different, but consistent ways over time. This knowledge could, in the future, help to further shape the curriculum to allow for and cultivate this hands-on approach by responding to different types of behavior.
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