Jin, H., L. Zhan, and C. W. Anderson. 2013. Developing a fine-grained learning progression framework for carbon-transforming processes. International Journal of Science Education 35:1663-1697.
Science educators have called for using the learning progression approach to align curriculum, instruction, and assessment. In line with this trend, we conducted both assessments and teaching experiments with students from grades 4 to 12 (717 students participated in the pre-assessments and 682 students participated in the post-assessments). The goal of the study is to develop a learning progression framework that provides effective guidance for curriculum and instruction on carbon-transforming processes in socio-ecological systems. We conducted the study in three research cycles. We developed a matter-and-energy learning progression framework during the first two cycles. This learning progression framework was used to guide the teaching intervention in the third research cycle. Clinical interviews and written assessments were implemented before and after the teaching intervention. In the process of data analysis, we found that the matter-and-energy learning progression framework did not provide a fine-grained depiction of students’ reasoning. Therefore, we developed the five-practice learning progression framework, and used it to re-analyze data. Results indicate that the teaching intervention has helped students to achieve significant learning gains, but it was not effective enough in helping students achieve the upper anchor of the learning progression framework—constructing sophisticated scientific explanations. The results also indicate that students tended to rely on coherent and consistent reasoning to construct explanations. Based on the findings, we provide instructional suggestions and discuss the implications for climate change education and learning progression research.
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