Date of Conferral
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
Achievement data from the 3rd International Mathematics and Sciences Study and Program for International Student Assessment in science have indicated that Black students from economically disadvantaged families underachieve at alarming rates in comparison to White and economically advantaged peer groups. The study site was a predominately Black, urban school district experiencing underachievement. The purpose of this correlational study was to examine the relationship between students' use of inquiry-based laboratory investigations and their performance on the Biology End of Course Test, as well as to examine the relationship while partialling out the effects of student gender. Constructivist theory formed the theoretical foundation of the study. Students' perceived levels of experience with inquiry-based laboratory investigations were measured using the Laboratory Program Variable Inventory (LPVI) survey. LPVI scores of 256 students were correlated with test scores and were examined by student gender. The Pearson correlation coefficient revealed a small direct correlation between students' experience in inquiry-based laboratory investigation classes and standardized test scores on the Biology EOCT. A partial correlational analysis indicated that the correlation remained after controlling for gender. This study may prompt a change from teacher-centered to student-centered pedagogy at the local site in order to increase academic achievement for all students. The results of this study may also influence administrators and policy makers to initiate local, state, or nationwide curricular development. A change in curriculum may promote social change as students become more competent, and more able, to succeed in life beyond secondary school.