“Students who experienced the Seeds of Science/Roots of Reading units demonstrated significant learning gains in science AND literacy.”
— Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST), December 2005
A growing body of evidence demonstrates the educational effectiveness and significant impact on student learning of the Seeds of Science/Roots of Reading curriculum. Results of two of these studies are briefly summarized below, with links to more detailed information. Additional research is underway, and results will be posted as they become available.
CRESST Evaluation Report—Grades 2/3
An independent and respected research organization, the National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST) at the University of California, Los Angeles, conducted an extensive study of Seeds of Science/Roots of Reading units during the field trials at Grades 2/3. The study involved 89 teachers from 21 states, randomly assigned to experimental or comparison conditions. Results were extremely positive. The CRESST report showed that students who experienced the first two grades 2–3 Seeds of Science/Roots of Reading units (Shoreline Science and Soil Habitats) demonstrated statistically significant learning gains and outperformed students in all other comparison groups in many aspects of science and literacy. Notably, girls improved even more than boys, and students with the lowest scores on the science pre-test demonstrated significant gains that were equivalent to those of the highest-scoring students, suggesting that these units were accessible to the full range of students.
The full text of the CRESST evaluation report for this study can be found here.
Three Studies on the Terrarium Investigations (now called Soil Habitats) Unit
Three studies were conducted by Professor Mark Girod and associates at Western Oregon University. Two studies involved an experimental classroom group using the Seeds of Science/Roots of Reading Terrarium Investigations (now called Soil Habitats) unit and comparison groups using the GEMS unit from which it was adapted and expanded, and a curriculum published by Scholastic. A third study explored the demands of implementation of the Seeds of Science/Roots of Reading unit. The studies demonstrated a clear “value added” of the Seeds of Science/Roots of Reading unit, with clear evidence as to the comparative effectiveness of the curriculum in maximizing student conceptual understanding, efficacy beliefs and identity affiliations, understanding of the nature of science, and student transfer of learning to out-of-school settings.
A more detailed report on these studies can be found here.
CRESST Evaluation Report—Grades 3/4
Another CRESST study, on a grades 3–4 unit, is being analyzed. The study compares student learning from the Light Energy unit with that of students who experienced the usual science curriculum for the same topics. The study took place in a state where light energy topics are in the state standards at grade 4. A total of 94 classrooms took part, with 47 in the Seeds of Science/Roots of Reading group and 47 in the “business-as-usual” comparison group. Students completed pre- and post-assessments for science content, vocabulary, reading comprehension, and writing. Preliminary analysis shows that students in the Seeds of Science/Roots of Reading classrooms made greater progress on all of these assessments than those in the comparison group.
Additional effectiveness research and evaluation of the Seeds of Science/Roots of Reading approach and individual units is ongoing. The SEMILLA project, for example, is focusing its research on the impact of the Seeds of Science/Roots of Reading curriculum on English language learners.
The Research and Resources section of the website includes a large number of articles, reports, and presentations relating to the research base, educational effectiveness, and unique aspects of Seeds of Science/Roots of Reading.