Study: Middle-Grade Students Surpass Peers When Learning With Interactive Science

Pearson has released a new report on the efficacy of its Interactive Science program. Developed as part of Pearson’s ongoing research and efficacy initiatives, the study conducted by Planning, Research and Evaluation Services (PRES) Associates, Inc., demonstrated that students in grades 6-8 learning with Interactive Science showed statistically significantly greater growth in ability over the course of a school year than students using other science programs.

Middle-grade students learning with Interactive Science realized greater gains than 68 percent of their peers learning with other inquiry-based and basal programs, according to a developed assessment measuring the science content standards taught using test items from the National Assessment of Educational Progress and the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study. Comparably, when the progress of students learning with Interactive Science was measured by the national, standardized TerraNova science test, they showed greater learning gains than 63 percent of their peers learning with another program. In addition, students learning with Interactive Science achieved significant growth that spanned the demographic, grade level, gender, and ability spectrum of students.

Commenting on the study, Miriam Resendez, senior researcher, PRES Associates, Inc., said, “Our research shows that Pearson Interactive Science students performed better than students learning with other science programs – both basal and inquiry-based – in the areas of scientific inquiry, science and technology, and life science – as well as showed a higher level of performance on the assessments’ multiple-choice items measuring science facts and concepts, and fill-in-the-blank items measuring vocabulary. This finding suggests that the positive effects associated with Pearson Interactive Science may be due to its strength in building scientific inquiry abilities, including critical-thinking skills, as well as general scientific concepts and science vocabulary.”

Nearly 90 percent of teachers reported that they enjoyed teaching with Pearson Interactive Science and rated the program’s various components – overall quality, labs, resources and organization – higher than the program they had been using previously. In particular, the teachers commented that the program was rich in resources and a great tool for learning science vocabulary. Additionally, the vast majority of teachers and students believed that the Pearson program helped students make connections between science, real-world applications, and other subject areas.

Amanda Chamberlain, an eighth-grade teacher at Rice Avenue Middle School in Girard, Pa., who participated in the study, said, “Science really came alive for our students when they were learning with this program. They came to class excited and ready to jump right into the day’s lesson, and the hands-on elements and virtual labs really helped them see how science fits into their daily lives.”

Her colleague, sixth-grade teacher Gracie Kizina agreed. “Best of all, when my students arrived in class ready to learn, Pearson Interactive Science and its great teacher resources helped me take advantage of that enthusiasm to get them immediately engaged in learning science, hands-on.”

The year-long study evaluated the achievement of 1,362 students in the sixth through eighth grades from nine geographically dispersed schools.