Title

Increasing Chemistry Comprehension and Overall Grade Percentage: Effects of a Modified CRA Instruction with Immediate Feedback

Date of Award

Summer 7-29-2022

Document Type

Project Abstract (696 or 796 registration)

Degree Name

Master of Science in School Psychology

Department

Graduate Studies

Committee Chair

Lisa Stewart

Keywords

Concrete-Representational-Abstract, High school, Chemistry

Abstract

High school students across the U.S., particularly students with learning disabilities, experience a discrepancy between science achievement and expected educational standards. With the need for greater scientific knowledge in the modern workforce, schools need to provide effective science education for students. One of many barriers to students closing the achievement gap in science education includes limited conceptual understanding of abstract science concepts. The current project which involved an 11th-grade student CB with a specific learning disability, studied the effects of a modified concrete-representational-abstract (CRA) instruction with immediate feedback. The CRA intervention helped CB comprehend abstract chemistry concepts through a graduated exposure starting from tangible concrete mini-experiments to representational imagery as a means to accurately envision the targeted abstract definitions. Positive changes to accuracy and overall class performance indicated the intervention was successful. The modified CRA instruction was found to improve CB’s acquisition of abstract chemistry concepts by 38.1% and the overall chemistry course grade by 16% from the baseline scores of 33.3% and 47% respectively to the final scores of 71.4% and 63% respectively over a 10-day period. The results of the study suggested the modified CRA instruction as an effective intervention strategy for potential educators wanting to help students improve accurate conceptual understanding of abstract chemistry concepts. Interpretation of findings, however, should be cautioned considering the limitations in determining causality, maintenance, and generalizability as a result of restrictive sample characteristics, a brief intervention, and an uncontrolled setting.

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