A Mixed Methods Comparison of Teachers' Lunar Modeling Lesson Implementation and Student Learning Outcomes



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The authors compare three teachers' adaptations and implementation of a lunar modeling lesson to explain marked differences in student learning outcomes on a spatial-scientific lunar assessment. They used a modified version of the Practices of Science Observation Protocol (P-SOP; Forbes, Biggers, & Zangori, 2013 Forbes C., Biggers, M., & Zangori, L. (2013). Investigating essential characteristics of scientific practices in elementary science learning environments: The practices of science observation protocol (P-SOP). School Science and Mathematics, 113, 180–190.[CrossRef]) to identify ways in which features of inquiry were emphasized in each classroom. Additionally, classroom communities of practice were categorized as task-based or practice-based (Riel & Polin, 2004 Riel, M. & Polin, L. (2004). Learning communities: Common ground and critical differences in designing technical support. In S. Barab, R. Kling, & J. Gray (Eds.), Designing for virtual communities in the service of learning (pp. 16–52). Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.[CrossRef]). The authors found that student learning outcomes were related to the fidelity with which the teachers implemented the lesson. Teachers with higher P-SOP scores fostered more of a practice-based learning community than task-based one, which also paralleled greater student learning gains. Although the students' scores did not differ by teacher on the preassessment, they did differ significantly on the postassessment, indicating that the curricular choices and learning communities developed by the teachers impacted what students were able to learn.

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The Journal of Educational Research