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Inquiry Based Activities And Technology To Improve Student Performance On The Science Reasoning Portion Of The Act (American College Test)

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Philosophical Foundations, Frameworks, and Testing in K-12 Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.771.1 - 10.771.11



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Paper Authors

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Skylar Stewart

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Linda Ramsey

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Julie DuBois

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Jorge Roldan

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David Mills

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Inquiry-Based Activities and Technology to Improve Student Performance on the Science Reasoning Portion of the ACT (American College Test) J. E. Roldan, S. S. Stewart, J. N. DuBois, L. L. Ramsey, and D. K. Mills GK-12 Teaching Fellows Program Louisiana Tech University P.O. Box 3179 Ruston, LA 71272


A six-week module to prepare Louisiana high school students from a small rural community for the science portion of the American College Test (ACT) was developed and taught by two graduate engineering students from Louisiana Tech University. The graduate students, in their role as Teaching Fellows in a National Science Foundation Graduate/K-12 Teaching Fellows Program (DGE-0231728), integrated ACTive Prep® software, inquiry based activities, analysis of science demonstrations, and reading of scientific literature into the program in an effort to develop the specific skills tested on the science portion of the ACT. Targeted skills included data interpretation/analysis, reading comprehension, and science reasoning. High school students interested in participating in the program were identified and placed in either an experimental or control group based solely on their ability to attend all program sessions. The experimental group of seven students met twice weekly for 1 ½ to 2 hours per session throughout the six week period and participated in all program components. Three students serving as the control group met only to take the practice ACT tests that were administered to both control and experimental group students at 0, 3, and 6 weeks. At the conclusion of the course, a slight increase in average composite and science scores was found for the experimental group; composite scores for the control group also increased slightly with no increase in scores on the science portion of the tests. The difference between the experimental and control groups was not statistically significant. Several factors may have contributed to this fact including small sample size, student motivation, and the sporadic attendance of students in the experimental group. Student input indicated that participants developed an improved confidence in their ability to score well on the science portion of the ACT. Finally, the course participants were not the only ones impacted; the graduate students responsible for the design and implementation of the course indicated that their involvement was personally and professionally rewarding.


The ACT As any college admissions advisor will tell you, a student’s ACT (American College Test) score can have a profound impact on their college career. While an ACT score can not definitively indicate how well a student will perform in a college classroom, a good score can open many doors for success that a poor score cannot. ACT scores are used to determine college admissions, scholarship eligibility, and course placement 1. When a student’s score does not meet a college or university’s desired criteria, it can often leave them to bear the cost of a higher education alone.

“Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education”

Stewart, S., & Ramsey, L., & DuBois, J., & Roldan, J., & Mills, D. (2005, June), Inquiry Based Activities And Technology To Improve Student Performance On The Science Reasoning Portion Of The Act (American College Test) Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--15543

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2005 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015