Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


School of Education

First Advisor

Dr. Steve Gulkus

Second Advisor

Dr. Tanya Santangelo

Third Advisor

Dr. Rebecca Craik


A nonequivalent, control group, pretest-posttest design was used to investigate student achievement in secondary chemistry. This study investigated the effects of process oriented guided inquiry learning (POGIL) pedagogy in high school chemistry classes compared to that of an independently designed guided inquiry method (InDGIM). Data were collected from chemistry students from four college-prep chemistry classes in the same high school, over the course of the academic year, using the Particulate Nature of Matter (ParNoMA2) test, the Group Assessment of Logical Thinking (GALT), unit tests, and the final exam. DataAll data waswere analyzed using a 2 x 2 Factorial Analysis of Covariance. This ANCOVA examined the main effects of group and gender on test results. The results show that there are no statistical differences in outcomes between the POGIL and the InDGIM group, nor are there statistical differences in performance between males and females with either approach, although females perform better than males overall. There are no interaction effects between group and gender. Students in the lowest quartiles, as per their Keystone Algebra scores (an end-of-course assessment designed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to assess proficiency in multiple subjects) show no differences in performance with either methodology, whereas students in the upper quartile in the InDGIM group perform better than those in the POGIL group. Students perform better on almost all of the unit tests and the final exam when taught with the InDGIM rather than the POGIL approach. The results of the Keystone Biology test is a better indicator of student success in chemistry compared to the results on the Keystone Algebra test. Regression analysis indicates that students with higher Keystone Biology scores are 34.8% more likely to earn a higher score on the chemistry final exam and are 20% more likely to earn a higher final grade in the chemistry course.

Keywords: active student-centered pedagogy, chemistry education, cooperative learning, group assessment of logical thinking, GALT, inquiry, independently developed guided inquiry method, particulate nature of matter, ParNoMA2, process oriented guided inquiry learning, POGIL, socialization.