The use of case study style questions as a means of improving academic achievement and attitude

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Letters & Science


The focal point of this action research project was to address the growing issues surrounding student attitude present in the high school science classroom. Many students struggle with connecting the science content explored in high school science classes with their personal lives and fail to make connections with real world applications. To improve student attitude an attempt was made to increase the student-content personal connection with the use of case study style questioning. Case studies, real world scenarios that demonstrate application and relevance to content being studied, have proven to be very successful in improving students' scores, attendance, and attitudes with their use at medical and professional schools. Case study style questions were drafted to be used as warm up activities for a unit on Genetics in a standard level Biology course. One class would receive the case study style questions and another would not, to act as a control group for comparison. Students who received the case study treatment showed little difference in academic achievement when compared to the control group. However, data collected from surveys and interviews demonstrated shifts in student attitudes. Students reported feeling more personally connected, comfortable, and interested in the content explored with case studies. Future work is needed to better outline the effects of case studies on academic achievement and will provide opportunities for future action research projects.




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