Murray State Theses and Dissertations


Secondary educators are responsible for moving students from dependent learners to independent individuals who can solve problems and be productive members of society. Science education has changed since 2012 when the PISA and TIMSS results were analyzed and showed that American students perform significantly lower than other countries. In 2013, Kentucky adopted new science standards that replaced the extensive lists of facts to be memorized with a set of performance expectations. Students are now tested on their ability to apply content knowledge to solve a phenomenon. Seventh-grade science teachers in classrooms with wide ranges of academic readiness have resisted switching to inquiry-based learning that will give students practice using science and engineering practices. This study was designed to determine if the student population's academic outcomes would change significantly when switching from traditional science instruction to inquiry-based learning. The findings of this study will help teachers with highly diverse students to make informed decisions on the type of instructional methods that will increase their students' positive academic outcomes.

Year manuscript completed


Year degree awarded


Author's Keywords

Inquiry, Instructional Methods, Professional Development, Middle School Science, NGSS

Degree Awarded

Doctor of Education


Educational Studies, Leadership and Counseling


College of Education & Human Services

Dissertation Committee Chair

Stephanie Sullivan

Committee Member

Jonathan Parrent

Committee Member

Melissa Chapman

Document Type


Included in

Education Commons