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Keywords

Elementary school teachers--Self-rating of--Middle West; Student teachers--Middle West--Attitudes; Science--Study and teaching (Elementary);

Abstract

Using the STEBI-B tool in a pre/post-test setting is common in educational research when measuring the influence of course work on the science teaching self-efficacy of preservice elementary teachers. This study was the first to use the STEBI-B in conjunction with a self-reflective tool to evaluate the influence of a required science content course on the science teaching self-efficacy of 54 preservice elementary teachers.

Concurrent collection of three sets of data happened at the beginning and at the end of an Inquiry into Earth & Space Science course designed for preservice elementary teachers. The self-reflective instrument measured science-teaching self-efficacy from a quantitative standpoint by having the participant rate their confidence towards teaching science on a scale from 1-10. The participants also provided a justification for their rating, which provided the qualitative data for this study. The mixed method design of this study captured the results from the quantitative and qualitative analysis of the data.

The results of the quantitative analysis found that although both the STEBI-B and the QUAN-SR instruments showed significant increases (p < .001 for both) in the preservice teacher’s science teaching self-efficacy from beginning to end of the test period the correlation of these data showed mixed results. There was little correlation between the normalized gains of the STEBI-B and the normalized gains of the QUANSR data for all 54 participants, r = .260. There was, however, a large correlation between the STEBI-B scores versus the quantitative self-reflective scores for two of the demographic groups, the participants who were juniors and the participants who had taken two previous science content courses, r = .806 and r = .716 respectively. These two groups represented the more experienced preservice teachers in the study making their understanding of self-efficacy more comprehensive. Because of their robust understanding of self-efficacy, their quantitative self-reflective scores supported their STEBI-B scores. The conclusion drawn from these results was that the STEBI-B instrument might do a better job of measuring the science-teaching self-efficacy level of the more experienced preservice teacher.

In analyzing the qualitative self-reflective data of the 54 participants, I used a constant comparative analysis. Qualitative responses by the participant indicated what factors the preservice teacher had identified as influencing their science teaching selfefficacy. The five categories of factors that emerged from the data were Cognitive Knowledge, Experience as a Student, Emotional State, Experience as a Teacher and Outside Factors. These five categories tie in closely with the six sources of self-efficacy discovered by Bandura (1977) and Palmer (2006).

The fact that the Experiences as a Teacher Category was the least cited category in this study was of concern from a science educator’s standpoint. The factors in this category, according to previous research (Bandura, 1977; Palmer, 2006), should be the most influential factors in predicting self-efficacy. For them to be the least important means the science content coursework has room to improve its influence on science teaching self-efficacy by including activities that give preservice teachers more experience teaching. In light of these results, this research suggests that all science content courses required for preservice elementary teachers should include a teaching component. This would give the preservice teachers a more robust learning experience in turn increasing their science teaching self-efficacy to a larger degree.

Date of Award

2016

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Department of Earth Science

First Advisor

Martha Alice Stone

Date Original

5-2016

Object Description

1 PDF file (viii, 89 pages)

Language

EN

File Format

application/pdf

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