Report on the effectiveness of a literacy and learning program in a science classroom

Year: 1994

Author: Sturgiss, James

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This study is concerned with the evaluation of a teaching/learning program designed to increase student literacy levels. The Metropolitan West Region Literacy and Learning Program (MWRLLP) is a DEET-funded initiative. In just two years 19 schools involving 400 teachers have been introduced to the MWRLLP. Yet, no formal evaluation of the program in terms of student outcomes has been completed.

A pilot study was conducted in 1993 at a school where only one teacher, the subject class's teacher, had been involved in the program. After a six-month trial of the program the pilot study was not able to identify any significant shift in student performance. This may have been due to lack of any reinforcement of the program across the curriculum. Of interest, however, the study found conflicting evidence concerning whether grammar and structure are independent variables in student texts.

This study is of student writing from three junior science classes in a school where three teachers from each of seven faculties had been trained in the program. The variables considered in this paper are: (a) structure of student texts; (b) grammar used in student texts; and (c) cognitive achievement of student responses as measured by SOLO taxonomy. Correlation analysis of the data was undertaken to identify any relationships among the variables, and t-tests were performed to identify any significant shifts in student performance within class and between classes.