Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Students with disabilities have long lagged behind their non-disabled peers when it comes to science achievement. The increased emphasis on STEM related careers and the use of science in everyday life makes learning science content and concepts critical for all students especially for those with disabilities. As suggested by the National Resource Council (2012), more emphasis is being placed on being able to critically think about science concepts in and outside of the classroom. Additionally, the Next Generation Science Standards are asking teachers and students to better understand how science is connected to the everyday world through the use of inquiry-based methods. The manuscript focuses on the use of an structured argument-based inquiry approach to science instruction called the Science Writing Heuristic (SWH). The SWH approach has shown some initial success in improving science achievement for students with disabilities. The current study compares treatment and comparison groups of students with disabilities in the area of science achievement. Treatment group students were taught using the SWH approach, while the comparison groups were taught using traditional science teaching. The authors found that students in the SWH groups scored significantly better than the comparison groups on post-test science achievement scores. The authors also found stronger effect size results for SWH groups as well. Implications for teaching science to students with disabilities are discussed.