Impacts of the identify and interpret strategy in a summer school program on improving students' scientific explanations
Nelson, Mary Kathleen
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During the pandemic, students did not have as many opportunities to engage in authentic experiences using critical science and engineering practices (SEPs). At-risk students were enrolled in a summer school program designed to give students experiences to practice using and improving the SEPs of planning and carrying out investigations, analyzing and interpreting data, and constructing scientific explanations. The purpose of this study was to look at whether the Identify and Interpret (I2) strategy students were taught to analyze and interpret qualitative and quantitative data would also help improve students' scientific explanations, specifically in the areas of evidence and reasoning. After receiving initial instruction on both the claim, evidence, reasoning (CER) framework and I2 strategy, students engaged in multiple investigations that gave them opportunities to practice gathering data, making graphs, and using the I2 strategy. Students wrote six scientific explanations using the CER framework, and rubrics were used to score student explanations in claim, evidence, and reasoning. Graphs and data tables where students used the I2 strategy were reviewed to see how relevant the students' "what I see" (WIS) or "what it means" (WIM) statements were and if the students used the WIS or WIM statements in their scientific explanations. The results suggest that when students thoughtfully engaged in the Identify and Interpret strategy, students typically scored higher in their evidence and reasoning scores, especially in the evidence score, than students that did not. By making connections between the "what I see" statements as evidence and the "what it means" statements as reasoning and encouraging students to use them in writing explanations, the I2 strategy has the potential to increase student scores for evidence and reasoning. The study also showed the strategy was not as impactful as it could have been for all students, which could be attributed to poor graphing skills, not explaining the relationship between variables in their WIM statements, and lack of content knowledge to help provide appropriate reasoning in the WIM statements and explanations.