Date of Award

Fall 12-2014

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. Jiu Ding

Committee Member 2 Department

Mathematics

Committee Member 3

Dr. Richard Mohn

Committee Member 3 Department

Educational Studies and Research

Committee Member 4

Dr. Amy Townsend

Committee Member 5

Dr. Chris Sirola

Committee Member 5 Department

Physics and Astronomy

Abstract

It was the purpose of this study to examine the teaching beliefs of community college science instructors and discover whether their teaching beliefs were student oriented or instructor oriented. In addition, this study sought to examine demographic factors and find their relation, if any, to these teaching beliefs, as well as explore topics that may be useful in the future to helping community colleges science instructors’ curricula and beliefs come together and work in unison. To do this, the study built on the foundation laid by Sampson et al., in their creation of the Beliefs about Reformed Science Teaching and Learning (BARSTL) questionnaire. This study consisted of the BARSTL framework, together with six demographic questions and four short answer questions. Quantitative and qualitative methods were used to analyze the significance of the differences between the BARSTL score and the demographic groups created by the questions.

Mean BARSTL scores and subscores for all 36 demographic groups created by the demographic and short answer questions were calculated. Homogeneity of variance between the groups created by the nine questions was calculated where the group size was sufficient to meet statistical requirements (one question had a single, overwhelming, common response). Eight ANOVAs were then used, along with post hoc tests where appropriate, to see if there was a significant difference between the BARSTL scores in the groups created by eight questions. Additionally, eight MANOVAs were used, along with post hoc tests where appropriate, to examine whether there was a significant difference between the BARSTL subscores in the groups created by eight questions. Further, one question lent itself to a t-test to examine the difference in the groups created by the two most common responses, and it was performed as well. Certain responses to the four short answer questions were also explored using qualitative means to further understand why community college science instructors responded in the manner in which they did and what implications their responses may have for community colleges and science beliefs.