Date of Award/Publication


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MS in Mathematics, Science, and Technology Education


This research study was conducted to determine the affect of reading ability on the success rates of 8th grade science students that take the New York State Regents Living Environment Exam. There is a concern that the English/Language Arts skills of current 8th grade students, not content knowledge, will limit the students' ability to be successful on the Regents level exam if it is given in 8th grade to all science students. This study administered two versions of a past Regents exam to six groups of 8th grade science students. one version of the test that was given was composed of thirty multiple choice questions worded as they appeared exactly on the test. The second version was composed of the same questions that were re-worded to be more "ELA friendly" for the students taking that test. The data strongly supports that students will have a lower success rate when taking tests with a higher reading level. Re-wording difficult tests can improve student achievement without changing the content that is being tested. Students that take the Regent Living Environment course may still struggle on the exam if their ELA skills are not as equally strong as their biology content knowledge and skills.