Incorporating language arts strategies in the science classroom to improve student writing

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Montana State University - Bozeman, Graduate School


The focus of my action research-based classroom project involved incorporating language arts writing strategies to help scaffold student writing in science with the goal of making writing easier for students in a variety of situations. Progress was tracked using practice tests for the Science Measurement of Student Progress (MSP), which utilized writing scenarios on a variety of topics. These tests had two main writing components, a conclusion and creating a procedure. Students completed a pretest and posttest using the same Powerful Classroom Assessment (PCA). In between these, students also completed another Powerful Classroom Assessment and a 2012 MSP Released Item. My 8th grade class was broken up into six subgroups by either special needs or scores on the 7th grade Writing MSP. In language arts class, students learned the PEEL process for paragraph writing that stands for Point, Evidence, Explanation, and Link. Students then employed this scaffold in classes across the curriculum, including science, throughout the year. Results showed improvement in student scores on the conclusion questions, especially for using data to support a claim. Student scores did improve to same extent with the procedure questions. The conclusion from the data is that using the PEEL paragraph writing process in multiple classes throughout the year improved students' ability to use evidence to explain a claim.




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