The effects of student choice on achievement in the high school science classroom

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Letters & Science


Education has changed from a one-size-fits-all approach to learning to an approach that caters to the individual student. Teachers regularly employ strategies in their classroom to ensure students are exposed to the content on a variety of platforms. The purpose of this study was to explore how students' achievement in science class was affected when given a choice of classroom activities to complete based off their interests. Secondary questions included how student attitudes towards learning science changed when given choice and how teaching practices changed as a result of implementation of student choice activities. The research was accomplished using a student choice-board, a matrix of activities from which students chose based on personal interests. After completion of a prescribed number of activities, student achievement was measured using pre- and post-test data. Qualitative data were acquired through student interviews, observations, Likert-style surveys, and journaling. The results of the study indicated that there was no appreciable difference in achievement when students learned by choosing their activities and when traditional teaching methods were employed. Student attitudes towards learning science showed either an increase in positive attitude or were neutral. The most definitive result of the study was how teaching style changed.




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