Inquiry-based Science Instruction and the Science Immersion Instructional Reform

WCER Working Paper No. 2012-2

Kimberle A. Kelly, Alexan Chalaganyan, and Erika Hernandez

January 2012, 9 pp.

ABSTRACT: The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) engaged in an elementary science instructional reform in Grades 4 and 5 from 2004 to 2009. An experimental study was conducted from 2006 to 2009 in a sample of 80 treatment (40) and comparison (40) schools to assess the reform's effects on student achievement. The Science Immersion reform supported teachers in implementing extended, inquiry-based curriculum units in their classrooms through professional development and site-based instructional supports. Researchers collected comprehensive samples of self-report, observation, demographic, participation, and achievement data from district administrators, teachers, and students. This paper synthesizes the findings of over 25 conference presentations, reports, and publications during the Science Immersion reform. Implications of the findings for researchers, district instructional leaders, and classroom teachers are also discussed.

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keywords: cience Immersion; Full Options Science System; Elementary Science; Scientific Inquiry, Teacher Professional Development; Systemic Instructional Reform