Date of Award

Spring 5-2009

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Educational Leadership and Research

Committee Chair

Dr. Michael Ward

Committee Chair Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

Committee Member 2

Dr. Kyna Shelley

Committee Member 2 Department

Educational Studies and Research

Committee Member 3

Dr. Gary Peters

Committee Member 4

Dr. James T. Johnson

Abstract

The purpose of the study was to analyze the science outreach program, Science In Motion (SIM), located in Mobile, Alabama. This research investigated what impact the SIM program has on student cognitive functioning and teacher efficacy and also investigated teacher perceptions and attitudes regarding the program.

To investigate student cognitive functioning, data were collected from the Mobile County Public School System based upon student performance on Criterion Referenced Tests (CRT's), consisting of the students' average score, percent of students passing the test (students scoring 60 percent or above), and the percent of students who were considered proficient, (students scoring 70 percent or above). The researcher hypothesized that (1) the students of teachers who participate in the SIM program would have statistically significant higher scores on their science CRTs than students of the same teacher prior to the teacher's participation in the SIM program, (2) students of science teachers who participate in the SIM program would have statistically significant higher scores on their science CRT's than students of science teachers who do not participate in the SIM program, and (3) teachers who participate in the SIM program would have a higher efficacy, as measured on the Teachers' Sense of Efficacy Scale developed by Tschnnen-Moran & Hoy (2001), than science teachers who do not participate in the SIM program. Statistical significant differences at the p < .05 level were found for all research hypotheses except for hypothesis 3. No statistical significant differences were found between the efficacy of teachers who participate in the SIM program and those who do not participate.

The researcher also investigated whether or not being involved in the SIM program affected the participating teachers' perspectives towards teaching science, funding of the science laboratory, and high stakes science testing and accountability. A phenomenological qualitative study was performed. The analysis consisted of coding the data and describing the associated themes. The themes were: SIM laboratory exposure Increases student success; SIM reduces teacher stress; SIM provides high quality laboratories for the science classroom; SIM needs to develop and provide more labs for advanced science programs; and, SIM increases teacher effectiveness.