Conceptual and Attitude Change of Community College Students Through Reading-Writing-Science Learning Connection

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Center for Science and Math Education

First Advisor

Rosalina V. Hairston

Advisor Department

Center for Science and Math Education


The purpose of this qualitative research investigates the influence of reading and writing to facilitate learning in science. Another purpose is to study the effect of constructivist teaching practices and cooperative learning to attain conceptual change among community college students in a Human Anatomy and Physiology I course. The affective dimension of learning anatomy and physiology through reading and writing was studied by examining the students' attitudes and personal beliefs expressed in their essays. This research combined several methods to engage the learner: reading an article of their choice from the "Vital Signs" series, writing an essay on the article read, collaborative group discussions, and critique of essay. The reading component of the study utilized the "Vital Signs" series from Discover magazine. The students then wrote essays using guide questions provided by the researcher. The essays were shared during the collaboration and critique session when students are in their "base groups." Reading and writing facilitates adult learners conceptual change in a human anatomy and physiology course through the linking of concepts to previous experiences, whether personal or previously studied materials. The positive effects of cooperative learning on minds-on construction of knowledge on adult learners' attitudes toward reading and writing about human anatomy and physiology were expressed at the focus group interviews. The choice of reading materials, working with peers, and freedom to express personal beliefs regarding the medically related articles positively influenced the adult learners' interest in learning human anatomy and physiology.