Donna MillerFollow




School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Scott Watson


Course Interest Survey, CRCT, Hands-on, Inquiry-based, Middle School, Science Education


Curriculum and Instruction | Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Methods | Junior High, Intermediate, Middle School Education and Teaching | Science and Mathematics Education


The purpose of this quasi-experimental study was to measure the difference in science achievement between students who had been taught with an inquiry-based, hands-on pedagogical approach and those who had not. Improving student academic achievement and standardized test scores is the major objective of teachers, parents, school administrators, government entities, and students themselves. One major barrier to this academic success in Georgia, and the entire United States, has been the paucity of success in middle level science classes. Many studies have been conducted to determine the learning approaches that will best enable students to not only acquire a deeper understanding of science concepts, but to equip them to apply that new knowledge in their daily activities. Inquiry-based, hands-on learning involves students participating in activities that reflect methods of scientific investigation. The effective utilization of the inquiry-based learning approach demands inclusion of learners in a self-directed learning environment, the ability to think critically, and an understanding of how to reflect and reason scientifically. The treatment group using an inquiry-based, hands-on program did score slightly higher on the CRCT. However, the results revealed that there was not a significant difference in student achievement. This study showed that the traditionally instructed control group had slightly higher interest in science than the inquiry-based treatment group. The findings of this research study indicated that the NCLB mandates might need to be altered if there are no significant academic gains that result from the use of inquiry-based strategies.

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