Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Edward Kujawa Jr., PhD, Director; Susan M. Zgliczynski, PhD; Paul Saltman, PhD


children & youth, curriculum, education, elementary school teachers, methodology, science inservice programs, self-efficacy


The Problem: Science education at the elementary level has not been successful. As a nation we are producing fewer and fewer scientists and science teachers, as evidenced by the narrowing of the pipeline of students entering science classes in high school and beyond. Since a student's interest in science begins at the elementary level, any improvement in science education in these grades will help ameliorate the trend toward science illiteracy. Such an improvement rests on three critical areas: the teacher, the curriculum, and the methodology. Since preservice programs do not include rigorous science requirements, it is necessary to supplement teacher training with inservice programs addressing all three areas. What a teacher knows and believes has the most influence on what is taught in the classroom; hence the more the teacher's content and belief system are augmented, the greater the teacher's self efficacy. This research questioned the effectiveness of inservice programs on efficacy, and examined correlations of other variables such as gender, years teaching, and grade level taught. Subjective questions investigated qualities of inservice programs and what would facilitate greater involvement. The Research: This study included three groups of teachers: a treatment group involved in an intensive science inservice program and two control groups. Data from a science efficacy belief instrument and a demographic questionnaire were analyzed using a variety of statistical measures: central tendency, chi square, and analysis of variance. The Results: The self efficacy of the elementary teachers involved in the intensive inservice program was significantly higher than that of the two control groups. In addition, these teachers taught more science and taught using different methods than the other two groups. They were also more active in sharing science information with their colleagues. Teachers agreed that the best inservice programs were relevant to their needs and that more flexible scheduling would increase teacher participation. For the group involved in this study, the science inservice program enhanced the teachers, the curriculum, and the methodology for the improvement of elementary science education.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access