3 years ago

[ASAP] Writing Instruction in Chemistry Classes: Developing Prompts and Rubrics

Kayla Logan, Lee Mountain
This 12-month qualitative study examined the efforts and classroom practices of a team of chemistry teachers in a high-needs secondary (9–12) school as they worked toward meeting a campus mandate to incorporate student writing into their curriculum. The researcher, an English teacher and peer, investigated how this team of teachers negotiated these new curricular demands. Teachers have recognized that a first step in writing instruction was the development of quality writing prompts in addition to rubrics for evaluating their students’ writing about chemistry content. As the researcher collaborated with the chemistry teachers, she collected, coded, and analyzed data from transcriptions of team meetings, interviews, classroom observations, students’ papers, and a researcher journal. As these chemistry teachers integrated writing into their classrooms, the researcher’s ongoing reconstructive analysis of data provided a record of attitudes, behaviors, classroom practices, and development of prompts and rubrics by the chemistry teachers. The data regarding prompts revealed that, through collaboration, this team of chemistry teachers found ways to improve the wording of their prompts. Teachers reported that the improved prompts elicited written answers that better showed the students’ knowledge of chemistry. The data regarding rubrics revealed that creating a rubric and revising it through three iterations did help these chemistry teachers clarify and communicate their expectations for student writing, a first step in planning meaningful writing instruction. In this qualitative study, the collaboration between the English teacher/researcher and this team of chemistry teachers assisted in bringing about the incorporation of writing instruction into their chemistry classes.

Publisher URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.jchemed.8b00294

DOI: 10.1021/acs.jchemed.8b00294

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