Date of Award

Spring 2019

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

School

Center for Science and Math Education

Committee Chair

Dr. Sherry Herron

Committee Chair School

Center for Science and Math Education

Committee Member 2

Dr. Rebecca Robichaux-Davis

Committee Member 3

Dr. Jiu Ding

Committee Member 3 School

Mathematics and Natural Sciences

Committee Member 4

Dr. Richard Mohn

Committee Member 4 School

Education

Committee Member 5

Dr. Kyna Shelley

Committee Member 5 School

Education

Abstract

This study investigated the extent to which successful completion of integrated mathematics and science methods of instruction courses related to elementary preservice teachers’ attitudes toward and confidence in teaching integrated STEM lessons, and the extent to which their attitudes and confidence correlated with their proficiency in planning integrated STEM lessons. A mixed-methods, longitudinal research design, with a sequential, explanatory approach was used. Participants included twenty-four elementary preservice teachers enrolled in their final two semesters of a teacher preparation program at a four-year public university in the southeastern U.S. To address the research questions in this study, both quantitative and qualitative data were analyzed from questionnaires, a learning segment rubric, and semi-structured interviews. Descriptive and inferential statistics, including repeated measures MANOVAs and multiple regression analyses, were calculated to analyze the quantitative data. Multiple cycles of coding were used to analyze the qualitative data.

Quantitative results of this study indicated no statistically significant difference in the participants’ attitudes toward or confidence in teaching integrated STEM lessons. However, qualitative data revealed heightened attitudes and increased confidence throughout the two semesters. While the data indicated an overall positive change in the participants’ attitudes and confidence over the two semesters, there was a slight decrease in both at the completion of the internship semester. While the elementary preservice teachers reported fairly positive attitudes toward and fairly high levels of confidence in teaching integrated STEM lessons, responses to the open-ended questions revealed specific barriers to effective implementation of integrated STEM lessons in the elementary classroom. Potential barriers identified by the participants included the difficulty of planning and implementing integrated STEM lessons, emphasis on high-stakes testing, and lack of resources. Further results of this study indicated that the attitudes and confidence of preservice teachers did not statistically significantly predict their proficiency in planning integrated STEM lessons. While no statistical significance was found in the repeated measures MANOVA or the multiple regression analyses, the findings from this study, particularly of the qualitative discussion, may have important implications for the numerous stakeholders of STEM education surrounding successful preparation of teachers to implement integrated STEM education in the K-6 classroom.

ORCID ID

0000-0001-9915-1391

Available for download on Sunday, May 10, 2020

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