Graduate Research Papers


Open Access Graduate Research Paper


Communication in science--Study and teaching (Secondary); African American students--Education (Secondary);


In the United States, the population of minorities is rapidly increasing. Our nation is facing a shortage in students pursuing STEM careers and it is vital to improve all students’ scientific communication abilities. As our population of minority students is also growing, it is especially important to tap into our potential STEM resources. While the Midwest is less diverse than the rest of the nation, the Waterloo Community School District in Waterloo, Iowa has a large population of minority students. When the district implemented the Next Generation Science Standards it created a problem for students wanting to take advanced science courses. The solution was to create a class that covered three years of science standards but took place over two years. This class was designed for advanced ninth-grade students. The purpose of this project was to analyze curriculum looking for similarities and differences between white and minority students within their argumentative writing. By understanding the similarities and differences within their writing the teacher will be able to help them grow in their scientific communication abilities and to help them feel more comfortable in the science classroom. This analysis looked at four different papers from four different topics: gene editing, solutions to human impacts on the environment, nitrates and eutrophication, and enzyme activity. This analysis found a few key differences between white and minority students. First, minority students tended to provide more than what is asked for in the rubric, whether it is sources or pieces of evidence. Second, minority students tended to be less likely to desire a gene edited child in the future, compared to their white peers. For the aspects of argumentative writing such as stating a claim, providing evidence and reasoning their argument all students, white and minority, seemed to be at about the same level.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Education


Science Education Program

First Advisor

Lyn Countryman

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (39 pages)



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