Thesis Title

Effectiveness and Accountability of the Inquiry-Based Methodology in Middle School Science

Graduation Date

Summer 2009

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Document Form

Print

Degree Name

Master of Science

Program Name

Education

Program Director

Madelienne Peters, EdD

Abstract

When teaching science, the time allowed for students to make discoveries on their own through the inquiry method directly conflicts with the mandated targets of a broad spectrum of curricula. Research shows that using an inquiry-based approach can encourage student motivation and increase academic achievement (Wolf & Fraser, 2008, Bryant, 2006, National Research Council (NRC), 2000). On the contrary, other research points out that students at the middle school level are unable to properly and effectively perform the necessary and relevant steps of inquiry (Krajcik, Blumenfeld, Marx, Bass, Fredricks, 1998, Jeong, Songer, Lee, 2006). One aim of this paper is to support the findings that, with age-appropriate subject matter and scaffolding, middle school students are capable of inquiry learning and benefit greatly through its usage. Another goal is to highlight that the underutilization of the inquiry method, though supported by national science standards, is due to a lack of accountability in high stakes testing. This lack of inquiry accountability is undermining the inquiry science curriculum movement.

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