Lombardi, Doug, 1965-; Jordan, Will J.; Mennis, Jeremy; Bailey, Janelle M.; Davis, James Earl, 1960- (Temple University. Libraries, 2019)
      ABSTRACT Students attending schools in poor and historically marginalized communities lack access to curricula that combines both relevant science content and investigative practices—components the National Research Council (2012) has identified as necessary for effective learning. This lack of curricular access is also problematic in that it: (1) undermines student interest and value of the discipline; (2) fails to educate students about science issues relevant to their lived experience; and (3) hinders student preparation to convert science content into actionable knowledge (Basu & Barton, 2007; Buxton, 2010; Brkich, 2014). I have designed a pedagogical model for geoscience learning as an attempt to address this educational opportunity gap. Geoscience as a content area is particularly important because students attending schools in poor and historically marginalized communities are more likely to be exposed to poor indoor and outdoor air quality (Pastor, Morello-Frosch & Sadd, 2006), have access to poor quality drinking water (Balazs, Morello-Frosch, Hubbard, & Ray, 2011; Balazs & Ray, 2014), and attend schools located near or on brown fields (areas of high exposure to environmental hazards) (Pastor, Sadd & Morello-Frosch, 2004). Given an overall concern for environmental justice (Pais, Crowder & Downey, 2014) and more specific concerns about recent cases of water quality in Flint, Michigan (BBC, 2016) and the greater Philadelphia area (Milman & Glenza, 2016; Rumpler & Schlegel, 2017), the topic of water quality has curricular relevance and potential to engage students in learning geoscience. Based on the pedagogical model, I designed both a water-quality themed transformative learning experience (intervention), and a comparison experience focused on exploration of geoscience careers. Each experience consisted of activities totaling 220 minutes of instruction that can be completed within 5-6 traditional class periods. I applied a mixed methods approach to examine the student generated data from both experiences. First, I used quantitative analyses to test the efficacy of the model with respect to pre to post and delayed post instructional shifts in interest; self-efficacy; and perceived value, perceived relevance, and application of Earth science content. Secondly, I examined between group comparisons on each measure. Results of repeated measures ANOVA indicated statistically significant and meaningful shifts in knowledge for those students in the intervention group, F(1, 159) = 7.34 p = .007 η2 = .044 (small effect size). Though the analysis did not detect statistically significant gains in interest, results revealed statistically significant and meaningful shifts in perceived value, perceived relevance, and application of Earth science content over time by grade for both the intervention and comparison groups, F(2, 155) =7.13 p = .001 η2 = 0.84 (large effect size; Tabachnick & Fidell, 2013). I confirmed these results using structural equation modeling (SEM) and path analysis. I also applied SEM and path analysis to the student generated data in order to test the theoretical soundness of the model. Interest, Transformative Experience (or TE, is operationalized as perceived value, perceived relevance, and application of Earth science content), and pre-instruction knowledge were all identified as significant pathways contributing to post-instruction knowledge. Output statistics confirmed that the model is both viable and trustworthy and indicated that it explained 34.4% of the variance. Lastly, iterative qualitative content analysis of student written responses during the intervention revealed elements of TE with respect to perceived value, perceived relevance and application of Earth science content confirming that the intervention was transformative. This work integrated knowledge from two disciplines—geoscience and education—to present an instructional model designed to support student interest, self-efficacy, TE, and knowledge. Results have implications for science teaching and learning, specifically that contextualizing science is an effective pedagogy. Additionally, embedding both science content and scientific practices in current socio-scientific issues, including issues of environmental injustice, supports knowledge gains, positive shifts in student perception of Earth science content as relevant, valuable, and useful for problem solving; and positive shifts in student application of science content to their lives outside of the classroom context.