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Determining the alignment between what teachers are expected to teach, what they know, and how they assess scientific literacy




Pitot, Lisa Noel, author
Balgopal, Meena, advisor
Cooner, Donna, committee member
Rambo-Hernandez, Karen, committee member
Coke, Pamela, committee member

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Science education reform efforts have highlighted the need for a scientifically literate citizen, capable of using their scientific knowledge and skills for reasoning, argumentation, and decision-making. Yet little is known about secondary science teachers' understandings of these reform efforts, specifically their knowledge, skills, and abilities related to scientific literacy. In addition to reform efforts, education policies have been enacted by states that rate a teachers' effectiveness in part on their students' performance on high stakes assessments. This study used multiple methods to examine a) teacher perceptions of scientific literacy, b) their scientific literacy, and c) their abilities to develop common science assessments that reflect scientific literacy skills defined by science education reformers. Using constant comparative analysis, open survey responses from secondary science teachers (n =48) from one district revealed that their perceptions of scientific literacy are not in alignment with those of science education reforms. Secondary science teachers (n =28) demonstrated as a group that they were scientifically literate. The assessments (n= 13) secondary science teachers developed did not align with the scientific literacy sub-constructs as defined by science education reformers. These finding inform the types of professional development would benefit secondary science teachers.


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assessment development
scientific literacy
scientific argumentation
science teaching


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