Date of Award

5-2015

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Teacher Education

Major Professor

Mehmet Aydeniz

Committee Members

Barry Golden, Lynn Hodge, Gary Skolits

Abstract

Integrated STEM teaching and learning has gained increased attention in recent years as schools try to prepare students for 21st century careers. Goals of integrated STEM teaching are in alignment with goals of science education reform efforts as evident in recent document such as the Next Generation Science Standards (Achieve, Inc., 2013) and efforts are underway to encourage science instruction from within an integrated STEM framework. Teaching science content in an integrated STEM context is a complex act placing great cognitive and emotional demands on teachers, many of whom lack experience with this manner of teaching and may also lack the content knowledge necessary to navigate multidisciplinary requirements associated with integrating STEM subjects. One of the strongest predictors of a teachers’ coping behaviors as well as both amount and duration of effort put into an action/task in the face of challenges is self-efficacy (Bandura, 1997). Adequately training and supporting teachers implementing science instruction within an integrated STEM framework therefore requires an understanding of the nature of those factors that establish teacher self-efficacy to teach in this way. The purpose of this mixed-methods study was twofold: (1) To develop an instrument with acceptable validity and reliability for the measurement of the latent factors describing science teachers’ self-efficacy to teach science within an integrated STEM framework, and (2) identify the constructs that define teacher self-efficacy to teach science within an integrated STEM framework. An exploratory factor analysis produced a three factor solution with 19-items maintained in the model. The instrument was named the SETIS Instrument and it demonstrated acceptable validity and reliability (r > .878). The final model was largely supported by qualitative open-ended survey responses and interviews which also were able to identify specific constructs that determine teacher self-efficacy to teach science in an integrated STEM framework. Further development of the SETIS Instrument should be undertaken given some inconsistencies between qualitative and quantitative results. It was concluded however that the SETIS can be useful in guiding pre-service and professional development for integrated STEM science teaching.

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