Date of Award

Fall 12-2008

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Center for Science and Math Education

Committee Chair

Dr. Sherry Herron

Committee Chair Department

Center for Science and Math Education

Committee Member 2

Dr. Debbie Booth

Committee Member 3

Dr. Christopher Sirola

Committee Member 4

Dr. Joe Whitehead Jr.

Committee Member 5

Dr. James T. Johnson

Abstract

The present study was designed to examine the relationship between the dependent variables of K-5 elementary teachers' attitudes toward inquiry-based science, implementation of National Science Education Standards concerning inquiry-based science, and the number of inquiry-based lessons taught with the predictor variables of gender, school district teaching, ethnic group, educational level, experience, grade level teaching, and number of science courses taken. Four hundred thirty teachers of grades K through 5 from seven school districts in south Mississippi were surveyed using the Revised Science Attitude Scale (Bitner, 1994), Inquiry Beliefs and Practices survey (Jeanpierre, 2006), and a demographic questionnaire. A total of 814 teachers were invited to participate in the study. Multiple linear regression techniques were used to test the hypotheses of this study at a .05 level. Results indicate that number of courses taken is a predictor for all subscales of attitude toward inquiry-based science. Grade level teaching was a significant predictor for two subscales of attitude and gender along with school district were predictors for one subscale for attitude. Results also indicate that school district, ethnic group, and grade level teaching are significant predictors of the complex skills subscale for implementation of inquiry-based lessons. The predictors of gender, school district, and number of courses taken were found to be significant concerning the number of inquiry-based lessons taught. Positive correlations were found between the four subscales for attitude, the two subscales for inquiry beliefs and practices, and the number of inquiry-based lessons taught. Conclusions, implications, and recommendations for future research are included.

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