Date of Award

8-2012

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EDD)

Degree Program

Educational Leadership

Department

College of Education

First Advisor

Valerie Storey

Second Advisor

Adam Kosnitzky

Third Advisor

Steve Shotola

Abstract

American students underachieve on local, state, national, and international assessments of science. Student performance on standardized assessments has driven numerous educational reforms including No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top with a resulting increased focus on student achievement. Local districts and schools struggle with how to improve student achievement in order to meet the requirements of state and federal legislation. International and national government officials extol1 the value of science in driving the economic prosperity of a nation adding increased pressure to improve science scores in the United States. Moreover, to be effective decision-makers personally and within a democracy, citizens must be scientifically literate. Read, Retrieve, Connect and Use (RRCU) is an instructional strategy that combined state biology content standards, with the new Common Core Standards for Literacy in Science through evidenced-based literacy strategies recommended by the National Reading Panel. This study aimed to assess the efficacy of an intervention, RRCU to improve science content knowledge and literacy skills in Biology and Language Arts. The findings identified reading skill, as measured by FCAT Reading as predictive of Biology test scores indicating a close relationship between reading comprehension and the ability to learn and be assessed on science content knowledge. The data did not indicate RRCU was an effective means of improving student science content knowledge or literacy skills. However, teachers responded positively to the strategy as a means to reinforce content knowledge and support literacy skills. Future recommendations include improving the study design and expanding the use of the strategy to middle school to build a foundation of effective literacy skills students can use to cope with the depth and complexity of science content at the high school level.

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