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«RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN TEACHER PREPAREDNESS AND INQUIRY-BASED INSTRUCTIONAL PRACTICES TO STUDENTS’ SCIENCE ACHIEVEMENT: EVIDENCE FROM TIMSS 2007 A ...»

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RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN TEACHER PREPAREDNESS AND INQUIRY-BASED

INSTRUCTIONAL PRACTICES TO STUDENTS’ SCIENCE ACHIEVEMENT:

EVIDENCE FROM TIMSS 2007

A Dissertation

Submitted to the School of Graduate Studies and Research

in Partial Fulfillment of the

Requirements for the Degree

Doctor of Education

Lynn A. Martin

Indiana University of Pennsylvania

August 2010

© 2010 Lynn A. Martin

All Rights Reserved

ii Indiana University of Pennsylvania The School of Graduate Studies and Research Department of Professional Studies in Education We hereby approve the dissertation of Lynn A. Martin Candidate for the degree of Doctor of Education __________________ ____________________________

George R. Bieger, Ph.D., Chair Professor of Education __________________ ____________________________

James D. Hooks, Ph.D.

Professor, University Libraries __________________ ____________________________

Mark Twiest, Ph.D.

Professor of Education ACCEPTED _______________________________ ____________________

Timothy P. Mack, Ph.D.

Dean The School of Graduate Studies and Research iii Title: Relationship Between Teacher Preparedness and Inquiry-Based Instructional Practices to Students’ Science Achievement: Evidence from TIMSS 2007 Author: Lynn A. Martin Dissertation Chair: George R. Bieger, Ph.D.

Dissertation Committee Members: James D. Hooks, Ph.D.

Mark Twiest, Ph.D.

The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between teachers’ self-reported preparedness for teaching science content and their instructional practices to the science achievement of eighth grade science students in the United States as demonstrated by TIMSS 2007. Six hundred eighty-seven eighth grade science teachers in the United States representing 7,377 students responded to the TIMSS 2007 questionnaire about their instructional preparedness and their instructional practices.

Quantitative data were reported. Through correlation analysis, the researcher found statistically significant positive relationships emerge between eighth grade science teachers’ main area of study and their self-reported beliefs about their preparedness to teach that same content area. Another correlation analysis found a statistically iv significant negative relationship existed between teachers’ self-reported use of inquiry-based instruction and preparedness to teach chemistry, physics and earth science.

Another correlation analysis discovered a statistically significant positive relationship existed between physics preparedness and student science achievement. Finally, a correlation analysis found a statistically significant positive relationship existed between science teachers’ self-reported implementation of inquiry-based instructional practices and student achievement.

The data findings support the conclusion that teachers who have feelings of preparedness to teach science content and implement more inquiry-based instruction and less didactic instruction produce high achieving science students. As science teachers obtain the appropriate knowledge in science content and pedagogy, science teachers will feel prepared and will implement inquiry-based instruction in science classrooms.

–  –  –

It is a pleasure to thank those who generously committed their time to better my work and help me complete this dissertation. First, I am extremely grateful for my committee chair, Dr. George Bieger who provided me with expertise and guidance at every stage of the dissertation process. Next, I would like to thank my committee members, Dr. James Hooks and Dr. Mark Twiest, who gave me great insights and instructive comments, substantially improving my dissertation.

In addition to the technical assistance, I received equally important support from my friends and family. I would like to thank Sandy and Lisa for their encouragement and friendship through out my doctoral studies. Most importantly, my deepest gratitude goes to my family. Thank you to my husband, Michael, who is the love of my life, always cheered me on, and never let me quit. Thank you to my beautiful daughters, Catherine and Aleena, who have the most patience of any two little girls. Thank you, Mom and Dad, who always made me feel like I have done them proud.

Thank you, Grandma Ricci whose hugs gave me the strength to keep going. I hope all of you realize I would not have been able to accomplish this endeavor without you. Done!

–  –  –

Chapter I THE PROBLEM

Problem Statement

Purpose of the Study

Questions Researched

Definition of Terms

Significance of the Study

Limitations of the Study

Summary

Chapter II LITERATURE REVIEW

Introduction

History of Inquiry: From Dewey to Standards.16 Defining Inquiry-Based Science...............32 Inquiry within a Constructivist-Learning Model

Teacher Preparedness and Inquiry-Based Instruction

The Current State of Science Education.......50 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study 2007 (TIMSS)..................60 Summary

Chapter III RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

Sampling Design





Data Collection Procedure

Technical Considerations

Variable Selection and Statistical Analysis of Data

Summary

Chapter IV DATA AND ANALYSIS

Quantitative Descriptive Analysis of Sample Population

Quantitative Correlation Analysis............96 Summary

Chapter V CONCLUSION AND DISCUSSION...............108

–  –  –

REFERENCES

APPENDICES

Appendix A- Description of TIMSS 2007 Science Cognitive Domains

Appendix B- TIMSS 2007 Teacher Questionnaire.....160 Appendix C- Identification of Inquiry-Based and Didactic Science Instruction Questionnaire

–  –  –

1 Summary of Teachers’ Major or Main Area of Study...88 2 Summary of Number of the Number of Years Taught....89 3 Summary of Teachers’ Beliefs of Preparedness to Teach Specific Science Content Areas...............90 4 Summary of Descriptive Analysis of Inquiry-Based Teaching to the TIMSS 2007 Class Using a Four-Point Likert-Scale

5 Summary of Descriptive Analysis of Didactic Teaching to the TIMSS 2007 Class Using a Four-Point Likert-Scale

Summary of Correlation Analysis between 8th Grade Science Teachers’ Self-Reported Beliefs for Preparedness to Teach Specific Science Content Areas and their Self-Reported Inquiry-Based Instructional Practices

Summary of Correlation Analysis between 8th Grade Science Teachers’ Main area of Study and their Self-Reported Beliefs on Preparedness to Teach Specific Science Content Areas

Summary of Correlation Analysis between 8th Grade Science Teachers’ Self-Reported Beliefs on Preparedness to Teach Specific Science Content Areas and 8th Grade Student Science Achievement....102 Summary of Correlation Analysis between 8th Grade Science Teachers’ Self-Reported Individual Instructional Practices and 8th Grade Student Science Achievement

Summary of Correlation Analysis between 8th Grade Science Teachers’ Self-Reported Implementation of Inquiry-Based Instructional Practices and 8th Grade Student Science Achievement.................105

–  –  –

1 The National Science Standards envision change throughout the system. The teaching standards encompass the above changes in emphasesry.......27 2 Variables Identified as Inquiry-Based Instruction or Didactic instruction with 67% Agreement

–  –  –

In our 21st century world, understanding science is imperative in order for citizens to make informed decisions about themselves and the world in which they live. The rate of new discoveries and the development of increasingly sophisticated tools to study our world make science a very rapidly changing subject. Since the 1930s, the teaching of science has undergone many changes because of political, economical, social, energy, technological, and environmental concerns. New goals for science teaching are continuously being developed to help produce scientifically literate citizens.

Currently, American students lag behind international standards and continue underperforming in science (Martin, Mullis, Gonzalez, & Chrostowski, 2004; Parker and Gerber, 2000; Roth, Druker, Garnier, Lemmens, Chen, Kawanaka, Rasmussen, Trubacova, Warvi, Okamoto, Gonzales, Stigler, & Gallimore, 2006; Stigler & Hiebert, 1999). American schools are in need of improvement and science education has become a significant priority in our nation (Stigler & Hiebert, 1999). Because of the intense demands for highly qualified individuals in the field of science, the national government continues to increase efforts to help the students in the United States perform better in science.

Science educators are working to improve science education. Given that science is a dynamic process and not just a body of knowledge, leading science organizations, such as the American Association for Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the National Research Council (NRC), stress the inclusion of inquiry-based science instruction into school science programs and curriculum. Inquiry-based instruction helps students achieve science understanding by combining scientific knowledge with reasoning and thinking skills (National Research Council, 2000). Inquiry-based teaching represents a departure from didactic or traditional methods of teaching science in which science is merely a body of facts to be memorized (Dewey, 1910a, 1910b, 1959; NRC, 1996b; Schwab, 1958, 1960, 1962, 1966;).

Inquiry-based teaching has a persistent history as the central method of good science pedagogy. A continuous body of evidence correlates inquiry-based science instruction with an increase in achievement (Escalada & Zollman, 1997;

Freedman, 1997; Johnson, Kahle, & Fargo, 2006; Kahle, Meece, & Scantlebury, 2000; Mattern & Schau, 2002; McReary, Golde, & Koeske 2006; Morrell & Lederman, 1998; Okebukola, 1987; Oliver-Hoyo & Allen 2005; Parker & Gerber, 2000).

Therefore, it is important that science educators give priority to the implementation of inquiry-based learning opportunities. However, there are concerns regarding the implementation of inquiry-based instruction into the classroom. The use of inquiry-based instruction in classroom practice may not be commensurate with the emphasis of inquiry in science education literature (Aoki, Foster, & Ramsey, 2005).

–  –  –

Since the 1950s, science educators and researchers have strongly advocated the perspectives of inquiry-based teaching in science classrooms (Allan & Powell, 2007;

Oliver-Hoyo, Allen & Anderson, 2004; Unal & Akpinar, 2006).

Increased attention has focused on helping science teachers to depart from traditional, didactic methods of instruction and provide opportunities for students to become engaged in more active, meaningful, and higher-level learning.

Despite the evidence correlating inquiry-based science instruction with increased achievement, many teachers are still resistant to such changes in pedagogy. Studies of teaching and learning in science classrooms reported that most teachers are still using traditional, didactic methods (Harms & Yager, 1980; Seymour, 2002; Unal & Akpinar, 2006).

Additionally, American students continue underperforming in science (Martin et al, 2004; Parker and Gerber, 2000; Roth et al., 2006; Stigler & Hiebert, 1999). The problem of this study is to show teachers have limited preparedness with science content and pedagogy to teach science content through inquiry-based instructional practices.

–  –  –

The purpose of this study will be to examine the relationship between teachers’ preparedness to teach science content and their instructional practices to the science achievement of eighth grade science students in the United States as demonstrated on the TIMSS 2007 exam.

Specifically, this study will investigate the orientation of teacher preparedness to teach biology, chemistry, physics, and earth science and the implementation of inquiry-based instruction to eighth grade students.

Additionally, the identification of teachers’ preparedness in relation to the use of inquiry-based instructional practices in the science classroom will be explored.

Finally, a correlation between the teachers’ implementation of inquiry-based instructional practices in science to United States eighth grade students’ achievement in science as demonstrated on the TIMSS 2007 will be conducted.

–  –  –

This quantitative study seeks to answer the following

questions:

1. What is the orientation of science teachers, with respect to their preparedness to teach specific science content to eighth grade science students?

2. What is the orientation of science teachers, on a continuum from didactic to inquiry oriented, with respect to their self-reported instructional practices in teaching science to eighth grade science students?

3. What, if any, relationship exists between teachers’ beliefs about preparedness to teach science content and their self-reported instructional practices in teaching science to eighth grade science students?

4. What, if any relationship exists between student

achievement in science and:

a. Teachers’ beliefs about preparedness to teach

–  –  –

Didactic Instruction- Didactic instruction traditionally has been conceptualized as the transmission of facts to students, who are seen as passive receptors. This instruction typically uses lecture format and instructs the entire class as a unit. Knowledge is presented as fact where students’ prior experiences are not seen as important. Moreover, instruction does not provide students with opportunities to experiment with different methods to solve problems, but primarily uses a drill and practice format with a foundation on textbooks (Smerdon, Burkam, and Lee, 1999).

Inquiry-based Instruction- Since the National Science Education Standards (NSES)is at the center of U.S. science education improvement, it is well to consider its

definition of inquiry-based instruction for this study:



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