New Jersey

Promoting Conceptual Change in Reasoning

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Co-Investigator: 
Project Overview
Background & Purpose: 

The general goal of this project is to advance theory and practice in the area of promoting model-based scientific reasoning among middle-school students. We are endeavoring to trace growth during the year in each of a set of core model-based reasoning strategies (strategies associated with developing and revising models based on evidence, engaging in constructive argumentation, and critically analyzing research). Our goal in ongoing analyses is to link student growth to specific instructional techniques as well as to evaluate the overall effects of our instructional program.

Setting: 

Our research sites have included 16 middle schools in 16 school districts in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Research Design: 

This project is designed to generate data that is descriptive (case study and desigh research), and associative and/or correlational (quasi-experimental and classroom microgenetic). As part of the project we developed over two dozen short instructional units (1-4 week long) and a variety of performance assessment tasks that focus on model-based inquiry and reasoning within various life science topics such as mitosis, photosynthesis, organelles, food webs, etc. In each of two years of implementation, matched schools have served/are serving as a comparison condition in a quasi-experimental design. This project collects original data using: Assessments of learning/achievemnt tests; videography and personal observation; and survey research including paper and penicl self-completion questionnaires, and face-to-face semi-structured and structured interviews. We are using a variety of analytic techniques, both statistical and qualitative to analyze the data. Quantitative methods are expected to include use of the General Linear Model and multilevel modeling. We are also using methods appropriate to data collected microgenetically across an entire year. Qualitative methods will include comparative case studies and studies of data from a small to moderately sized samples of students as they learn over the whole year.

Findings: 

Findings will be posted as they become available.

Publications & Presentations: 

CHINN, C. A., DUSCHL, R. A., DUNCAN, R. G., PLUTA, W. J., & BUCKLAND, L. A. (2008A). A MICROGENETIC CLASSROOM STUDY OF LEARNING TO REASON SCIENTIFICALLY THROUGH MODELING AND ARGUMENTATION. IN ICLS 2008: PROCEEDINGS OF INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY OF THE LEARNING SCIENCES: LULU.

PLUTA, W. J., BUCKLAND, L. A., CHINN, C. A., DUSCHL, R. A., & DUNCAN, R. G. (2008). LEARNING TO EVALUATE SCIENTIFIC MODELS. IN ICLS 2008: PROCEEDINGS OF INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY OF THE LEARNING SCIENCES: LULU.

Other Products: 

We have developed curriculum materials that span more than a year of middle-school life science topics and selected earth-science topics.

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