Date of Award

1995

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Educational Theory, Policy, and Practice

First Advisor

Dianne Taylor

Abstract

This study investigated the implementation of a physical science education innovation in a large, urban school system. The program began in the summer of 1993 with the selection of two teachers from each of seventeen elementary schools. Participants were selected by program staff from among a pool of applicants with an interest in science education. The goals of the program included retraining teachers to implement hands-on, inquiry-based physical science and performance-based assessments. Teachers were provided with instructional materials, including science kits, and on-going support and assistance from science and assessment specialists. Specifically, the study examined the relationship between the independent variables, teacher efficacy, school climate, and stages of concern and the dependent variable, implementation, using three statistical procedures. First, pre- and post-test scores were compared to determine if teachers' concerns about the innovation differed over the course of the first year of implementation. Second, a correlation matrix was computed to examine the relationship between all variables included in the study. Finally, the independent variables were used as predictors of implementation variation in a multiple regression analysis. The results of the analyses indicate that teachers' concerns about the innovation did shift in the predicted direction. Statistically significant relationships were found between the independent variables teacher efficacy and stages of concern, as well as efficacy and teacher ethnicity. The predictive value of the independent variables used in the regression analysis was not found to be statistically significant. It should be noted that the sample size available for study may have contributed to findings of statistical nonsignificance. The findings of the study indicate that planners of educational reform should consider that teachers charged with the task of implementing programs are likely to experience several distinct concerns, which should be addressed specifically and appropriately. If schools are to improve, future research will need to continue to examine the many factors that influence implementation at all levels, including district, school, and classroom levels.

Pages

199

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