Science inquiry as knowledge transformation : investigating metacognitive and self-regulation strategies to assist students in writing about scientific inquiry tasks Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/n870zt61f

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  • Science inquiry is central to the science education reform efforts that began in the early 1990's. It is both a topic of instruction and a process to be experienced. Student engagement in the process of scientific inquiry was the focus of this study. The process of scientific inquiry can be conceived as a two-part task. In the initial part of the task, students identify a question or problem to study and then carry out an investigation to address the issue. In the second part of the task, students analyze their data to propose explanations and then report their findings. Knowing that students struggle with science inquiry tasks, this study sought to investigate ways to help students become more successful with the communication demands of science inquiry tasks. The study took place in a high school chemistry class. Students in this study completed a total of three inquiry tasks over the course of one school year. Students were split into four experimental groups in order to determine the effect of goal setting, metacognitive prompts, and sentence stems on student inquiry tasks. The quality of the student written work was assessed using a scoring rubric familiar to the students. In addition, students were asked at four different times in the school year to respond to a self-efficacy survey that measured student self-efficacy for chemistry content and science inquiry processes. Student self-efficacy for the process of scientific inquiry was positive and did not change over the course of the study while student scores on the science inquiry tasks rose significantly. The metacognitive prompts and instruction in goal setting did not have any effect on student inquiry scores. Results related to the effect of the sentence stems were mixed. An analysis of student work indicated that students who received high marks on their initial inquiry task in this study were the ones that adopted the use of the sentence stems. Students who received low marks on their initial inquiry task did not tend to use the sentence stems. An analysis of word counts that compared the number of words used in the Framing section to the number of words used in the Analysis section indicated that students may have been using insufficient writing strategies. This study concludes with implications for classroom practice and recommendations for future research around student writing in the science classroom.
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