Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

Lisa Kenyon (Advisor), Jeff Peters (Committee Member), Tom Rooney (Committee Member)

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Recently, the National Research Council developed A Framework for K-12 Science Education (NRC, 2012), to support a new vision of science education. The Framework (2012) focuses on three integrated dimensions--disciplinary core ideas, crosscutting concepts, and scientific and engineering practices which is different than traditional ways of learning science. I focused on students' engagement in scientific practices, attention to epistemological practices (EIP) that guide students' construction, evaluation and revision of knowledge products. I examined how students EIP's changed over time and across contexts with respect to different knowledge product types (models and explanations). I present data from 103, 6th grade students attending two Midwest suburban elementary schools. I collected written embedded assessments and conducted semi-structured interviews. The Science Practices Group has identified four epistemological considerations that comprise students' epistemology in practice-type of account, generality, audience, and justification. I found that students exhibited growth for one of the four epistemological considerations. Students increased from descriptive to more mechanistic explanations (type of account) for modeling and explanation construction. Audience, generality, and justification epistemic considerations decreased over time or remained constant. These findings may suggest that supports from classroom instruction norms and curriculum enactment may affect use of these epistemological considerations in the classroom. Overall, I do see promise in using the epistemological considerations as supportive tools for students when making sense of the practice and engaging in meaningful science learning.

Page Count


Department or Program

Department of Biological Sciences

Year Degree Awarded


Included in

Biology Commons