Date of Award

12-2006

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Science Education, Mallinson Institute

Abstract

This study tested whether or not pre-service teacher education students enrolled in inquiry-based earth science courses gained more thorough knowledge, comprehension, and application proficiencies with regard to atmospheric science concepts included in the Michigan Curriculum Framework for Science Education---the content standards of the Michigan State Board of Education for K-12---than did pre-service teacher education students enrolled in a traditionally-based earth science lecture/laboratory course. Content proficiencies were tested at the beginning of the semester (the pretest) and again at theend of the semester (the posttest). A sample of students participated in post-test interview sessions designed to examine in depth their knowledge, comprehension, and application proficiencies with regard to atmospheric science content. Classroom observation data related to the behavior of bothstudents and instructors were collected and were later coded and analyzed using a lesson observation instrument that was based on Michigan and national teaching and learning standards and had an orientation toward inquiry and investigative approaches to learning.

Analysis of the pretest/posttests revealed that students in the traditional course demonstrated gains in knowledge and comprehension of content that resulted in statistically significant improvements on the overall posttest scores. Students in the inquiry-based courses accomplished some improvements in knowledge, comprehension and application proficiencies that did not result in statistically significant improvements on the overall posttest scores. Theanalysis of data suggests that the traditional course was more effective in preparing pre-service teachers to teach content consistent with the Michigan Curriculum Framework. The interpretation of the classroom observations and the interview sessions revealed that the inquiry-based courses were not fully consistent with national and state standards, included activities that did not adequately use investigative procedures, and lacked several major content areas outlined by the Michigan Curriculum Framework on which the pretest/posttest was based.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

Share

COinS