Inquiry learning has been shown to be a positive instructional tool for students (1) Beach & Myers, 2001; Delisle,1997; Tomas, 2000; Wadham, 2013; Guccione 2011. Research shows that when working on inquiry projects students gain opportunity to build critical thinking, problem solving, and reasoning skills while fostering creativity, independence, and ownership.
Research also shows that participating in inquiry research allows students to integrate different aspects of their learning and make the connections between reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Recently, Dr. Brigid Barron and Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond of Stanford University published an article titled “A Review of Research on Inquiry Based and Cooperative Learning” and concluded:
A growing body of research suggest that students learn more deeply and perform better
on complex tasks if they have the opportunity to engage in more “authentic” learning — projects and activities that require them to employ subject knowledge to solve real-world problems. Studies have shown a positive impact on teaching them to construct and organize knowledge, consider alternatives, engaged in entailed research, inquiry, writing and analysis and to communicate effectively to audiences (2) Newmann, 1996.
For example, a study of more than 2,100 students in 23 schools found significantly higher achievement on intellectual challenging performance tasks for students who experienced this kind of authentic pedagogy and that these practices resulted in stronger performance regardless of race gender or prior achievement.
The concept of collaborative learning; the grouping and pairing of students for the purpose of achieving an academic goal, has been widely researched and advocated throughout professional education literature.
A significant body of evidence also supports the conclusion that cooperative learning can lead to an increase in student achievement. Cooperative teams achieve at higher levels of thought, retain information longer, take responsibility for their own learning and become critical thinkers, all while enhancing enjoyment of learning and improving student retention rates (3) Johnson and Johnson,1986; Totten, Sills, Digby, & Russ, 1991; Sharan, Ackerman and Hertz-Lazarowitz 1980; Humphreys, Johnson and Johnson, 1982. These studies support the notion that UBA Regional Charter School’s model and thematic focus of the school is viable for achieving significant student gains.