Comparing inquiry-based and conventional science instructions in the Italian high schools

  • Mariada Muciaccia Pensa MultiMedia Editore
  • Federico Rea
  • Giovanni Corrao
  • Cristina Miceli


This study aims to evaluate if inquiry-based science education (IBSE) at the high school level allows the achievement of better learning objectives with respect to conventional science education (CSE). The findings would help to understand if, how, and why IBSE can be used as a successful teaching approach. The study included four high schools with different specialties, eight experienced science teachers and approximately 350 students, attending sixteen classes. Two biochemistry topics were taught by the same teacher in two classes. A two stage quasi experimental, crossover design was adopted. The primary outcome compared the difference in the average pre-teaching and post-teaching test-scores, using a 3-multilevel analysis. On average, the outcome in terms of scores significantly improved by 4% with IBSE with respect to the CSE approach, demonstrating differences among the school specialties. In conclusion, our study indicates that IBSE is significantly more effective in enhancing skills.