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The Effect of an Integrated Science Program Designed for General Education Classrooms on the Academic Vocabulary of Fifth Grade Students with Special Needs and English Language Learners


The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) have high requirements regarding science knowledge and academic vocabulary that need to be taught to students using research-based curriculum and teaching techniques. Students who receive Special Education services or who are ELL are known to encounter difficulties learning new and complex scientific concepts but, according to NGSS, they need to be held accountable to the same standards as their typical peers. Numerous studies show that Project-Based Learning (P-BL) together with scaffolding and group learning have been used successfully in science classrooms at different grade levels. Since school districts started to implement NGSS, there has not been enough research conducted to indicate how the new requirements address the various needs of a diverse student body, and there is still need of more studies that are assessing different ways in which the new science standards are being applied in classrooms. This study searches for evidence of whether a science curriculum that is currently used in a school district in Southern California and which was designed as a P-BL, integrated science curriculum for General Education classes, is also effective for students who receive Special Education services or who are ELL.

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