The effect of a scientific reading curriculum on overall performance and attitude in high school students
Guilmet, Stephanie Lynn.
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There is a growing influence of technology on scientific learning, with primary focus on learning in an online environment. This has both benefits and challenges, but in the science classroom, a primary challenge is being able to read the required material effectively on your own, and then productively present that material in class discussions and on assessments. While this is a well-developed skill in the humanities, it is not a primary focus of instruction in a typical high school science classroom of approximately 15 students. The primary question I sought to answer with this study was what the effects of implementing and testing some reading comprehension strategies on high school students would have on their ability to retain information on tests, their performance on daily quizzes, and their confidence level in the classroom. Four academic units in a high school Biochemistry course were studied, and progressed in the order of the Digestive System, Vitamins and Minerals, Exercise Physiology, and Immunology. Understanding of concepts was assessed using student-developed concept maps, and overall interest and participation was assessed by anonymous surveys, and one-one-one student-instructor interviews. While overall test and quiz scores increased only very slightly throughout the intervention, class participation increased and student interviews reflected a positive increase in confidence and quality of thought in the science classroom.