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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Science Literacy: Exploring Middle-Level Science Curriculum Structure and Student Achievement
by Faulkner, Sarah Ford, Ed.D., University of Hartford, 2012, 189; 3518573
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this quantitative study was to explore and describe the relationship between middle-level science curriculum structure and student science literacy. Although national and state science curriculum standards are based on an integrated model, there is little quantitative data supporting integration. This study explored the use of standardized test data in examining the efficacy of middle-level science curriculum integration. Specifically, this study compared Connecticut science curriculum specialists' characterizations of the degree to which their school districts' middle-level science curriculum was integrated with their school districts' mean scale-scores on the standardized Middle School Science Connecticut Mastery Test (CMT). Curriculum integration, as used in this study, referred to the deliberate conceptual and content linkage between different science disciplines, such as physical science or life science, into a single curriculum.

Drake and Burns' (2004) conceptual model for integrated curriculum and an adaptation of BSCS' (2000) model for integrated science curriculum were used as conceptual frameworks for the study. The Degree of Science Curriculum Integration Survey (DSCIS; Faulkner, 2012), an Internet-based survey developed specifically for use in this study, was used to quantify respondent's characterizations of the level of curriculum integration in their schools. Forty-nine middle school educators participated in the study.

Data analysis led to 17 findings. Overall, participants reported a moderate level of science curriculum integration in use in their middle schools. Detailed data analysis revealed that participants reported significant inconsistencies in the planning, design, implementation, and assessment processes of the integrated science curriculums. No significant relationship was found between the characterization of degree of integration and student science achievement as measured by the eighth-grade CMT. Recommendations were made for further study, teacher professional development, revision of the DSCIS (Faulkner, 2012), and further use of the DSCIS as both a diagnostic and developmental tool for school districts.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: LaRocco, Diana J.
Commitee: D'Annolfo, Suzanne, Fromerth, Michael
School: University of Hartford
Department: Educational Leadership
School Location: United States -- Connecticut
Source: DAI-A 73/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Instructional Design, Science education, Curriculum development
Keywords: Curriculum, Curriculum structure, Integrated curriculum, Science, Science achievement, Science literacy
Publication Number: 3518573
ISBN: 978-1-267-50225-4
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