Onyancha, M. and C. W. Anderson. 2012. Secondary students’ accounts of carbon-transforming processes before and after instruction. US-China Education Review A 2:183-198.
The purpose of this study is to examine the extent to which more targeted instruction is helpful in eliciting students’ scientific explanations of six selected carbon-transforming processes of combustion, cross processes, decomposition, growth, photosynthesis and respiration. We also examined these students’ accounts regarding the corresponding principles of energy and matter. Students’ accounts came from four secondary school teachers, two of whom used designed instructional materials and two did not. We first used grounded theory to analyze students’ responses to pre-posttests regarding the six carbon-transforming processes. Then, we used matched-pair t-test to analyze these responses. We found overall significant pre-post gains in students’ accounts in processes and principles among teachers who used more targeted instruction than those who did not. This was true even among teachers whose students’ pretests were roughly similar. We also found no significant pre-post gains in high school students’ accounts in the process of growth irrespective of form of instruction. Implications for research, science teaching and learning are discussed.
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