Date of Award

Fall 2022

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Studies

First Advisor

Christine Lotter


The U.S. Education system is founded on a Eurocentric focus of curriculum, and students of color are not achieving as high as white students on the National Assessment for Education Progress in science. This research aims to repay the education debt owed to students of color by decolonizing science curriculum through the implementation of lessons centered around socioscientific issues grounded in social justice. An action research study was implemented in which 9 th grade Biology students participated in three instructional units centered on social justice issues. Data was collected through surveys, focus group interviews, student work, and journal reflections from students. After participating in all three units, students were better able to define social justice concerns and identify the role of science in identifying issues of social justice. Students also shifted in their ability to identify issues of equality and the needs of communities based on their studies. Finally, students reported that they were engaged and interested in studying from this perspective. These findings indicate the benefits of instruction from a social justice perspective. This study also shares recommendations for incorporating social justice issues into the socioscientific framework.


© 2022, Stephanie Marilyn Bailey