Theses Doctoral

Exploring the Development of Classroom Group Identities in an Urban High School Chemistry Class

Macaluso, Stefania

A key to achieving academic success in science is providing students with meaningful experiences and skills to negotiate how these experiences affect them and the society in which they live. Although students strive for academic success, a challenge that faces many urban science students and their teachers is finding ways to promote student engagement in the science classroom. In order to support students in urban settings and to better identify the ways in which students may better learn science concepts and develop a sense of belonging or affiliation to science, this qualitative research study explores the development of a classroom group identity (CGI) based on the frameworks of social identity theory, interaction ritual chain theory, and communities of practice.
The interactions and experiences of eighteen student participants in a Bronx high school chemistry class were studied over the course of a full school year. Using a conceptual lens of classroom group identity, a model construct and definition were built identifying four stages of CGI development. At the culmination of the study, a positive change in perceptions, attitudes, leadership skills, and classroom behaviors in learning science was primarily observed by two students developing a CGI. The study has implications for the teaching and learning of high school sciences.


  • thumnail for Macaluso_columbia_0054D_12001.pdf Macaluso_columbia_0054D_12001.pdf application/pdf 2.12 MB Download File

More About This Work

Academic Units
Science Education
Thesis Advisors
Moore Mensah, Felicia
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
July 7, 2014