Fifth grade students engaged in a cooperative learning environment: Evaluating their ability to determine the status of their own conceptions about matter
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This study integrated cooperative learning methods in classroom instruction to investigate the effects on achievement and conceptual change in matter concepts involving 70 fifth grade students after 10 weeks of instruction. Data obtained from the administration of two achievement tests indicated that there were significant differences between the pre-test and post-test mean scores on the Matter Unit Test as well as on the Matter Diagnostic Test. Since the notion of status is fundamental to the Conceptual Change Model (Posner, Hewson, Strike & Gertzog, 1982) this study also investigated the students' ability to determine the status of their own conceptions. Analysis of the students' use of written descriptors provided varied evidence of their ability to use technical language (intelligible, plausible, or fruitful) and effectively determine the status of their own conceptions.
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