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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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The fourth question addressed in this study was twofold with regards to student science achievement. What, if any relationship exists between eighth grade student achievement in science and teachers’ self-reported beliefs about preparedness to teach science content to eighth grade science students? What, if any relationship exists between eighth grade student achievement and Teachers’ selfreported instructional practices in teaching science to eighth grade science students?

To answer the first part of this question, a correlation analysis was used to determine if a relationship existed between eighth grade science teachers’ self-reported beliefs about their preparedness to teach specific science content areas and eighth grade student science achievement. Table 8 presents correlation coefficients for items that measured eighth grade science teachers’ self-reported beliefs about their preparedness to teach specific science content areas and student science achievement.

Table 8 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

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Data indicated a statistically significant positive relationship existed between physics preparedness and student science achievement with a correlation coefficient

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relationship between teachers’ preparedness to teach biology, chemistry, and earth science respectively and student science achievement. Teachers who have feelings ranging from being “very well prepared” or “not well prepared” to teach a specific content area do not necessarily have students achieving in science.

To answer the second part of the fourth research question, a correlation analysis was performed to determine if a relationship existed between eighth grade science teachers’ self-reported individual instructional practices and eighth grade student science achievement. At the.01 level, data analysis indicated a statistically significant positive relationship existed between reading their textbooks or other resource material (BT4SCSRM), have students memorize facts and principles (BT4SCSHP), use scientific formula and laws to solve routine problems (BT4SCSUP), and using a computer for practice skills and procedures(BT4SCASP). Teachers who indicated they use the previously mentioned instructional practices infrequently were more likely to have students achieving in science.

There were no other statistically significant relationships between individual instructional practices and eighth grade science achievement. In other words, teachers who frequently implement inquiry-based instructional strategies or infrequently implement didactic-based instructional strategies do not necessarily produce high achieving eighth grade students. Table 9 presents correlation coefficients for items that measured eighth grade science teachers’ self-reported, individual instructional practices and eighth grade science achievement.

Table 9 Summary of Correlation Analysis between 8th Grade Science Teachers’ Self-Reported Individual Instructional Practices and 8th Grade Student Science Achievement

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In addition to the previous correlation analysis, a correlation coefficient was computed to analyze the relationship between eighth grade science teachers’ selfreported, inquiry-based instructional practices and student science achievement. Data indicated a statistically significant positive relationship existed between science teachers’ self-reported implementation of inquiry-based instructional practices and student science achievement with a correlation coefficient of.011 at the.01 level.

Teachers who indicated more use of inquiry-based teaching practices and less use of didactic teaching practices were

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10 presents the correlation coefficient.

Table 10 Summary of Correlation Analysis between 8th Grade Science Teachers’ Self-Reported Implementation of Inquiry-Based Instructional Practices and 8th Grade Student Science Achievement

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The quantitative data reported in Chapter 4 were analyzed 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

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that teachers perceived more than “Somewhat prepared” to teacher each content area. To support the answer for question two, 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 was supported with descriptive analysis. The means were reported for ten inquiry-based teaching strategies and five didactic-based strategies. To support the answer to question three, 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, a correlation analysis was utilized. Pearson correlation coefficients were used to determine the existence of relationships. The fourth question addressed in this study was two-fold concerning student science achievement. What, if any relationship exists between eighth grade student achievement in science and teachers’ self-reported beliefs about preparedness to teach science content to eighth grade science students? What, if any relationship exists between eighth grade student achievement and teachers’ selfreported instructional practices in teaching science to eighth grade science students? To support the answer to both questions, a correlation analysis was utilized.





Pearson correlation coefficients were used to determine the existence of relationships. Quantitative descriptive analysis and correlation analysis were conducted in Chapter 4 to provide support to answer the four questions in this study.

Chapter 5 presents conclusions drawn from the data analysis and discussions regarding the conclusions.

Finally, implications for science teachers and future research are discussed, followed by a summary of the study.

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The primary focus of this study was 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 investigated the orientation of teacher preparedness to teach biology, chemistry, physics, and earth science and the implementation of inquiry-based instruction to eighth grade students’ science achievement.

Data collection for this study produced the depth and complexity of information to answer the following research

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 science content to eighth grade science students?

The following chapter is organized by first providing a summary of the procedures used in this study. Then, a discussion of the conclusions generated from the quantitative analyses of this study is presented as they related to the above-mentioned purposes. Next, implications for science teachers and the educational community is presented. The chapter concluded with suggestions for future research study based upon the results and limitations of this study.

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This study examined 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. The information on teachers’ self-reported preparedness for teaching specific content and instructional tendencies was taken from the TIMSS 2007 survey of teachers. Questionnaires were collected from six hundred eighty-seven eighth grade teachers in the United States representing 7,377 students enrolled in public and private schools.

The TIMSS sampling protocol was designed to yield a sample that would be representative of students across the United States. According to Joncas (2008), the student sampling selection method used in the TIMSS 2007 is a systematic, three-stage stratified cluster sampling technique. Teachers of these students were asked to complete questionnaires about themselves pertaining to their own qualifications and experience with teaching science; pedagogic approach; assessment practices; and home-school connections.

TIMSS 2007 teacher questionnaire (Appendix B) contained numerous items representing constructs of primary concern to this study. TIMSS 2007 was not designed to specifically measure the preparedness, use, or beliefs of didactic and inquiry-based instruction of the teacher population. The specific instructional variables and relationships among variables examined in this report were selected because of the theoretical interests of this study. In order to eliminate bias in identification of variables for this study, thirty-three variables representing instructional practices that characterize both didactic and inquiry-based approaches, as recommended by the National Science Education Standards (NSES) and the framework outlined in the literature review were extracted from the teacher questionnaire. The instructional variables included various learning objectives, methods of instruction, and beliefs about learning science concepts.

Instructional methods were measured by responses to questions about the relative roles of computers, experiments, lectures, discussions, group work, individualization, homework, and assessment. For the purpose of content validity, nine secondary science teachers, with teaching experience, participated in the identification of the thirty-three extracted variables as either didactic or inquiry-based (Appendix C). The criteria for selection of variables were based on a 67% agreement of variables being identified as either didactic or inquiry-based. As a result, ten variables were identified from the teacher questionnaire as being representative of inquiry-based instruction and five variables were identified as being representative of didactic instruction.

Quantitative data were reported according to five purposes. Descriptive analysis of teachers’ characteristics examined several dimensions and provided an accurate showcase of the population from which the sample was derived. A correlation analysis was used to determine if a relationship existed between eighth grade science teachers’ main area of study and their self-reported beliefs on preparedness to teach specific science content areas. A second correlation analysis was used to determine if a relationship existed between eighth grade science teachers’ self-reported beliefs about their preparedness to teach specific science content areas and their self-reported instructional practices. A third correlation analysis was used to determine if a relationship existed between eighth grade science teachers’ self-reported beliefs about their preparedness to teach specific science content areas and eighth grade student science achievement. A final correlation analysis was used to determine if a relationship existed between teachers’ self-reported instructional practices in teaching science to eighth grade students and eighth grade science achievement.

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Four research questions were identified at the onset of this study. Based on the quantitative analysis done in this study, results of the study are discussed with a presentation of interpretations and conclusions.

Summary of Teacher Characteristics Factors that influence teachers’ practice are complex and numerous. According to Mayer, Mullens, and Moore (2000), to ensure high levels of academic achievement, teachers should have high academic skills, teaching in the field in which they received their training and have more than a few years of experience. Descriptive analyses of the eighth grade teachers’ characteristics examined several dimensions and provided statistics to highlight the nature of the population from which the sample was derived. The highest level of formal education, the teachers’ indication of having a teaching license or certificate, and the teachers’ main area of study was explored. The teachers’ level of experience based on the number of years taught was examined. The teachers’ self-reported beliefs on preparedness to teach specific science content areas were investigated. The teachers’ self-reported instructional practices in the science classroom were examined. These analyses display the characteristics of the sample population.

The highest level of formal education, the teachers’ indication of having a teaching license or certificate, and teachers’ main area of study was explored. Thirty-seven percent earned only a Bachelor’s degree, while 63% held a Master’s degree or higher. Ninety-seven percent of the teachers in the sample population have a teaching license or certificate. The identification of the teachers’ major or main area of study was indicated as biology, physics, chemistry, and earth science. The sample population showed 43.6% of the teachers’ main area of study was in biology, 18.3% in chemistry, 17.6% in earth science, and 7.8% in physics.



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