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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The effects of stem-rich clinical professional development on elementary teachers' sense of self-efficacy in teaching science
by Trimmell, Michael David, Ed.D., California State University, Long Beach, 2015, 163; 3704976
Abstract (Summary)

There is a deficiency of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) qualified college graduates to meet current workforce demands. Further, there is a weak pipeline of STEM qualified educators, which are needed to help produce the skilled candidates necessitated by these demands. One program aimed at creating highly qualified STEM teachers was the Raising the Bar for STEM Education in California: Preparing Elementary Teachers in a Model, Scalable, STEM-Rich Clinical Setting (Raising the Bar Program). The Raising the Bar professional development program focused on addressing deficiencies in elementary teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge, specifically in science. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of the Raising the Bar professional development program on elementary master teachers’ sense of self-efficacy in teaching science. Research shows there is a clear link between self-efficacy and outcome expectancy to improve student outcomes in STEM fields.

This study utilized an explanatory mixed methods approach. Specifically, a quasi-experimental design was followed to collect, first, quantitative data, and then, qualitative data. The quantitative data consisted of survey data collected from each of two groups: the treatment group of master teachers participating in the Raising the Bar professional development series, and the control group of master teachers not participating in the professional development. The qualitative data was collected in the form of two focus group interviews, one from each group. Further, two university student teacher coordinators were interviewed to add depth and perspective throughout the entire professional development process.

Quantitative and qualitative data were analyzed to determine the effects of the Raising the Bar professional development on teachers’ sense of self-efficacy in teaching science. The major research findings indicated that the STEM-rich professional development was successful in significantly increasing teachers’ sense of self-efficacy in teaching science. Further, the findings of the study demonstrated that there is a clear need for focus on science across the curriculum, a clear need for a science-specific professional development model, and a clear need for inclusion of specific content courses as a requirement in administrative credential programs. As a result of the research, a science-specific model of professional development was created. The proposed model suggests that the science-specific professional development must be aligned, intentional, differentiated, ongoing, and purposeful.

Recommendations based on the findings of this study include further exploration of the factors that positively affect self-efficacy in teaching science. Additionally, it is unclear if self-efficacy alone is sufficient to improve overall science teaching practice at the elementary level. Research specifically aimed at the factors affecting teachers’ sense of self-efficacy in teaching science can help determine the best course of action for teacher credentialing programs, professional development programs, and instructional leaders working in the field.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Symcox, Linda
Commitee: Kim, Simon, Perez, Phillip
School: California State University, Long Beach
Department: Educational Leadership
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 76/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Education, Teacher education
Keywords: Self-efficacy, Stem
Publication Number: 3704976
ISBN: 978-1-321-77697-3
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