Date of Award

2003

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

Program

Curriculum and Instruction PhD

First Advisor

Larry D. Burton

Second Advisor

Elvin Gabriel

Third Advisor

Jimmy Kijai

Abstract

Problem. Science education has long been a great concern in the United States, where less than one-third of the students perform at or above the proficient level. The purpose of this study was to investigate the status of the science program in a selected Union Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist school system. Specifically, this study investigated the perceptions of teachers and students regarding the extent to which the science program meets the criteria of the National Commission on Mathematics and Science Teaching for the 21st century and to what extent these criteria are related to academic performance as indicated by Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) science scores.

Method. Two questionnaires designed by the researcher were used to get responses from 424 students in seventh and eighth grades and 68 teachers to see how this school system compares to the criteria of National Commission on Mathematics and Science Teaching for the 21st century. Three classroom configurations were investigated in this study, namely: (a) multi grade, (b) two-grade, and (c) single-grade. Crosstabulation, one-way analysis of variance, Kruskal-Wallis test, and linear regression were used to analyze the four research questions of this study.

Results. The single-grade classroom configuration received a better rating for the science criteria (p < 0.01), and students from single-grade performed significantly better than two-grade/ multi grade (p < 0.01) classroom configurations on their science achievement (ITBS). There were significant relationships among science achievement and the factors that measured the criteria of the National Commission for Mathematics and Science Teaching for the 21st century.

Conclusions. The differences in teaching practices explained the discrepancies in the three classroom configurations. Schools can therefore develop policies and strategies to improve the practices in the teaching and learning process in science education that were identified as being deficient by the criteria of National Commission on Mathematics and Science Teaching for the 21st century.

Subject Area

Science--Study and teaching (Middle school), Seventh-day Adventist elementary schools, Science teachers.

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