School of Education


Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction (EdD)


Dr. Angela Ford

Primary Subject Area

Education, General


cognitive conflict, learning disabilities, STEM, self-efficacy


Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research


The purpose of this quantitative, causal comparative study was to measure differences in the level of cognitive conflict among middle school science students utilizing independent t-tests. This study supports increasing knowledge for middle school science educators and potentially contributes to improved curriculum design and delivery. This quantitative study examined levels of cognitive conflict within a sample size of 28 middle school science students with learning disabilities, with an individual education plan (IEP) or a 504 Plan, compared to a sample size of 28 students without learning disabilities, without an IEP or 504 Plan. This study related social cognitive learning among middle school science students with regard to varying levels of cognitive conflict. Middle school science students were separated into two groups, students with learning disabilities (have an IEP or 504 Plan) and students without learning disabilities (do not have an IEP or 504 Plan), to compare differences in cognitive conflict scores among four subsets of cognitive conflict, recognition of a contradiction, interest, anxiety, and cognitive reappraisal. Data used for analysis was obtained from 56 upstate New York middle public school science students using the Cognitive Conflict Levels Test (CCLT) research instrument. Expected results will demonstrate a difference or no difference in cognitive conflict levels between middle school students with learning disabilities and middle school science students without learning disabilities. Further study should include the impact of social conflict, value of self-efficacy, motivational conflict, interest conflict, and relevance conflict among students with learning disabilities compared to students without learning disabilities.