Equitable science education in urban middle schools: Do reform efforts make a difference?*

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  • *

    Any opinions, findings, or conclusions are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of NSF.

Abstract

A central commitment of current reforms in science education is that all students, regardless of culture, gender, race, and/ or socioeconomic status, are capable of understanding and doing science. The study “Bridging the Gap: Equity in Systemic Reform” assessed equity in systemic reform using a nested research design that drew on both qualitative and quantitative methodologies. As part of the study, case studies were conducted in two urban middle schools in large Ohio cities. The purpose of the case studies was to identify factors affecting equity in urban science education reform. Data were analyzed using Kahle's (1998) equity metric. That model allowed us to assess progress toward equity using a range of research-based indicators grouped into three categories critical for equitable education: access to, retention in, and achievement in quality science education. In addition, a fourth category was defined for systemic indicators of equity. Analyses indicated that the culture and climate of the case study schools differentially affected their progress toward equitable reform in science education. © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 38: 1130–1144, 2001

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