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Two-Year Community: Integrating Reading Skills in an Introductory Science Classroom

Journal of College Science Teaching—May/June 2015

Typically science textbooks communicate information in a discipline-specific manner. To read an average science textbook, students need to understand cause/effect, learn a new language, interpret charts/graphs, and make sense of static drawings depicting active processes to understand the science content. All of these may create challenges for introductory students. To improve reading skills and understanding of content, we developed materials for integrating reading and comprehension skills in an introductory biology course intended for students requiring biology remediation who are intending to be biology majors or allied health majors. Pre–post instruction scores on a comprehensive final and on a scientific method quiz were collected and compared to determine the effects of instruction on course content knowledge (CCK). Sections receiving integrated instruction improved in CCK slightly overall at the end of the semester over the comparison group. However, during the time period when instruction was greatest (first 4 weeks) the pre–post quiz data shows a statistically significant increase in CCK in the intervention group over the comparison group.
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