Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2019

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In


First Advisor

Hand, Brian

Second Advisor

Woods-Groves, Suzanne


The purpose of this study is to implement an intervention designed to develop background knowledge and investigate its effects on science proficiency for students who are at risk for failure. Pretest scores for 130 students were analyzed to identify students with prior knowledge deficits that may put them at risk for failure. Of the 44 students identified, 26 were matched by pretest scores and randomly assigned to treatment or control conditions. Prior to the start of a Human Body systems unit, students in the experimental condition were explicitly taught the function and location of 15 organs of the human body. I analyzed pre-and posttest scores to determine if the instruction had an impact on student recall.

This study was conducted using a pre/post experimental design to investigate the effectiveness of using explicit instruction to pre-expose students to content knowledge to help improve student outcomes. Quantitative data was analyzed to determine if student posttest scores for two measures of science proficiency improved significantly as a result of instruction provided during intervention. Study limitations and future directions for research are discussed.


enhancing content knowledge, preteaching, Science instruction, Special education


x, 92 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 88-92).


Copyright © 2019 Jay Anthony Gorsh