A Research-Validated Instructional Model
The Science IDEAS model has evolved over a a number of years. The initial study reported in 1992 (Romance & Vitale, 1992) showed that 4th grade Science IDEAS students displayed higher achievement on nationally-normed tests in reading comprehension and in science (in comparison to demographically similar students) and more positive attitudes and self-confidence toward reading comprehension and science. This research was recognized by the National Association for Research in Science Teaching and by the Florida Educational Research Association.
Expansion of the Science IDEAS model to over 50 classrooms and 1200 students across grades 4, and 5 having diverse (e.g., at risk) student populations was reported in 2001 (Romance & Vitale, 2001). Again, the same patterns of findings on nationally-normed achievement tests in reading comprehension and science along with positive affective outcomes were obtained.
More recent research findings have been supported through a multi-year project funded by NSF/IERI funding that began in 2002. Findings from this project have been reported in a series of papers presented at national conferences (e.g., Romance & Vitale, 2008, 2009; Vitale & Romance, 2009). These findings from multi-school, schoolwide applications showed that (a) Science IDEAS students in grades 3-4-5 obtained significantly higher achievement on nationally-normed tests in science and reading comprehension vs. controls and (b) students in grades 6-7 who received Science IDEAS in grades 3-4-5 displayed an increasingly higher level of achievement in reading comprehension and science vs. controls (i.e., an elementary-middle school transfer effect). In addition, recent adaptations of the grade 3-5 model to grades K-2 also have student achievement in reading comprehension and science as measured by nationally-normed reading and science tests (Vitale & Romance, 2007, 2010).
The preceding provides evidence of the instructional validity of the Science IDEAS model to accelerate student learning in reading comprehension and science by focusing the organization of science instruction upon core science concepts that reflect the logical structure of science as a discipline.