First Advisor

Michael Flower

Date of Publication

Fall 9-24-2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Teaching (M.S.T.) in General Science


Science Teaching




Biology -- Study and teaching (Secondary), Technical writing -- Study and teaching (Secondary), Diaries -- Authorship -- Science -- Study and teaching (Secondary), Literacy -- Study and teaching (Secondary), Academic writing -- Study and teaching (Secondary)



Physical Description

1 online resource (v, 84 pages)


Writing-to-learn strategies have been administered in the past to enrich student learning. The purpose of this study was to see if K-W-L prompts in science journal writing could benefit student content knowledge within biology. Two high school biology classes were provided with learning journals. The journals given to the students during the treatment unit were provided with K-W-L question prompts to guide student learning while during the comparison unit students were given an open ended writing assignment. Pre and posttests were administered to determine student-learning gains. Student motivations and opinions of the treatment were collected through student interviews. The combined results were used to determine to what extent could K-W-L prompts in science journal writing influence comprehension of content knowledge. This study found there to be no difference in student learning gains when utilizing the K-W-L literacy strategy versus another free-writing activity. When scored, student K-W-Ls total scores did correlate to student success on unit tests. This opens up the potential for K-W-Ls to serve as an adequate tool for formative assessment. Here the K-W-L could be expanded to enrich student question asking, potentially aid students learning English, and potentially be used by students without teacher scaffolding.


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