The integration of science process skills in elementary science, math, and language arts: A case study of the effect upon student science achievement

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching and Leadership


John Tillotson


Elementary school, Achievement, Math, Science, Process skills, Language arts

Subject Categories

Education | Educational Psychology | Science and Mathematics Education


This study investigated the student science achievement results related to the infusion of an elementary process science program into a rural/suburban school district which had already implemented a process curricula in language arts and mathematics. It ascertained trends in student science content and process skill achievement during the four years following the curricular innovation.

The investigative method employed a comprehensive quantitative analysis of the New York State Elementary Science Program Evaluation Test administered to all fourth-grade students every academic year. Four consecutive classes were treated as a cohort samples with each exposed to increasingly more multidisciplinary process instruction. A test for determining a school ability was administered to each cohort sample as a means to establish that each cohort sample was similar to each other with respect to school ability. This was essential as it had been previously determined that school ability was the greatest predictor of student attainment of the science process skills.

Targeting a series of five research questions, this study demonstrated that there were significant increases in student science achievement scores from the onset to the conclusion of the study. Some evidence is presented to suggest that females were among those showing the greatest gains. In particular, the achievement scores of the content, inquiry skill and manipulative skill sub-tests over the course of the study demonstrated significant changes when student attainment of science mastery was examined. Utilizing the test to differentiate between student ability levels, it was also shown that students of low and moderate school ability significantly increased their performance on the manipulative skill portion of the test as compared to some higher ability students who demonstrated significant improvements in science content achievement. Additionally, this study determined that the students who were exposed to a process mathematics approach as opposed to a traditional mathematics program also collectively demonstrated improved performance in all sub-test areas. Finally, a series of multiple regression models confirmed much of the aforementioned matched-pair analyses by suggesting that the improved scores were best predicted by the school ability measures and the number of years the student was enrolled in the program.


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