Date of Award

Spring 5-2013

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Education & Educational Psychology

First Advisor

Nancy N. Heilbronner, PhD

Second Advisor

Gary Cialfi, EdD

Third Advisor

Linda Paslov, EdD

Fourth Advisor

Harry Rosvally, EdD

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine whether the consistent use of metacognitive strategies embedded in an Interactive Student Notebook (ISN) would impact the science process skills of 7th-grade students. In addition, this study explored whether specific teacher written feedback, provided to students in the ISN, further enhanced the use of ISNs and resulted in greater gains in students’ science process skills.

A sample of convenience, 7th-grade students (n = 194) in two suburban middle schools in the northeastern United States, was utilized for this study. Students participated for 15 weeks in one of three instructional programs: (a) a science instructional program using ISNs embedded with metacognitive strategies and specific written feedback (treatment), (b) a science instructional program using ISNs embedded with metacognitive strategies only (comparison), and (c) a traditional science program using regular classroom instructional practices (control). Students’ science process skills were measured using Form A (pretest) and Form B (posttest) of the Diet Cola Test, and data were analyzed using an analysis of variance (ANOVA) and a multiple linear regression. In addition, this study employed qualitative methods in the form of surveys to explore teachers’ and students’ perceptions of using the ISN and incorporating specific written feedback.

Results revealed a significant main effect for type of instruction. Students in the comparison group (n = 67, M = 10.75, SD = 3.53) scored significantly higher (p = .026, d = .47, moderate) than students in the control group (n = 66, M = 9.10, SD = 3.50) on mean posttest scores of Science Process Skills. There were no significant differences between the remaining groups. In addition, regression analysis suggested that the type of feedback that students received (task-specific, process-specific, or metacogntively-specific) did not predict students’ science process posttest scores. Qualitative analyses indicated that students in the treatment group believed that using the ISN and receiving specific written teacher feedback on the task to be helpful to their learning. In contrast, teachers believed that the ISN could be useful in certain settings but that a variety of feedback, especially verbal feedback, was more effective than written feedback.