How does the use of case studies, as an instructional strategy, affect the perception of relevance of science in a high school conceptual science class?
Morris, Julie Ann
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Students in junior level Conceptual Science at Manteno High School consider science irrelevant and are not motivated to learn the content. The goal of this research project was to incorporate a learning strategy that would increase student perception of the relevance of science to their lives and thereby increase their learning of the content. Case studies were incorporated into the two sections of Conceptual Science at Manteno High School for two units during the spring semester of 2013. Pre- and post- assessments were given to the students to measure their understanding of the content. An online survey was given to the students before and after the intervention to see how it affected their perception of relevance. Student interviews were conducted following the treatment as well. Evidence collected during the study showed that while student learning increased during units when case studies were used, the perception of relevance of science was virtually unchanged. Students expressed in the survey and in the interviews that they like using the case studies in class because they feel it connects science to the real world even though no measurable difference in their perception of relevance of science was observed through the Likert style survey. Using case studies in a class like Conceptual Science increases student interest enough that it increased their learning. Even though student perception of relevance of science is unaffected, incorporating additional case studies in science courses should be considered because of the increase in learning.