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Cultural Studies of Science Education

, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 649–670 | Cite as

Inspiring science achievement: a mixed methods examination of the practices and characteristics of successful science programs in diverse high schools

  • Stephen C. Scogin
  • Baki Cavlazoglu
  • Jennifer LeBlanc
  • Carol L. Stuessy
Original Paper

Abstract

While the achievement gap in science exists in the US, research associated with our investigation reveals some high school science programs serving diverse student bodies are successfully closing the gap. Using a mixed methods approach, we identified and investigated ten high schools in a large Southwestern state that fit the definition of “highly successful, highly diverse”. By conducting interviews with science liaisons associated with each school and reviewing the literature, we developed a rubric identifying specific characteristics associated with successful science programs. These characteristics and practices included setting high expectations for students, providing extensive teacher support for student learning, and utilizing student-centered pedagogy. We used the rubric to assess the successful high school science programs and compare them to other high school science programs in the state (i.e., less successful and less diverse high school science programs). Highly successful, highly diverse schools were very different in their approach to science education when compared to the other programs. The findings from this study will help schools with diverse students to strengthen hiring practices, enhance teacher support mechanisms, and develop student-focused strategies in the classroom that increase science achievement.

Keywords

Science education Achievement gap Mixed methods Student diversity Student-centered practices 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen C. Scogin
    • 1
  • Baki Cavlazoglu
    • 2
  • Jennifer LeBlanc
    • 3
  • Carol L. Stuessy
    • 4
  1. 1.Hope CollegeHollandUSA
  2. 2.Karadeniz Technical University, Fatih Faculty of EducationTrabzonTurkey
  3. 3.Riffa Views International SchoolRiffaKingdom of Bahrain
  4. 4.Texas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA

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