ERIC Number: ED501253
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Oct
Reference Count: 28
Inquiry-Based Instruction in Secondary Science Classrooms: A Survey of Teacher Practice
Gejda, Linda M.; LaRocco, Diana J.
Online Submission, Paper presented at the 37th Annual Northeast Educational Research Association Conference (Kerhonkson, NY, Oct 18-20, 2006)
Background: For ten years, the National Science Education Standards (National Research Council, 1996) have served as the foundation for Connecticut's teacher certification in science and the expectations of teacher practice secondary science classrooms. Furthermore, beginning science teachers must demonstrate the ability to teach in an inquiry-based manner as part of their beginning teacher science portfolio. This ability is assessed through the science teaching portfolio that is part of the Beginning Educator Support and Training (BEST) program for all beginning science teachers; it requires candidates to demonstrate the ability to plan a two-week unit, teach the unit, and assess student learning. Despite Connecticut's history of assessing beginning secondary science teachers ability to teach in an inquiry based fashion, little was known about whether teachers who had been certified through the state's portfolio assessment process as capable of teaching continued to practice this model of instruction once they have been deemed qualified to do so. Purpose: The purpose of this investigation was to describe the extent to which secondary science teachers in Connecticut, who were certified through Connecticut's BEST portfolio assessment process between 1997 and 2004 and had taught secondary science during the past academic year: (a) reported practicing the indicators of inquiry-based instruction in the classroom and (b) the factors that they perceived facilitated, obstructed, or informed that practice. The indicators are based upon the "5E" model of inquiry (CSDE, 2001a) described by Lawson (1995) and adopted from Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (1992) 5E model (Trowbridge & Bybee, 1990). Data Collection and Analysis: Researcher developed questionnaire, "Inquiry-based Instruction in Secondary Science Classrooms: A Survey"; descriptive statistics. Findings: Nearly all of the respondents reported practicing 5Es of inquiry-based instruction in their secondary science classrooms. Further, a majority of respondents indicated that they had access to the factors that they considered extremely important to the practice of inquiry-based instruction. Conclusion: The differences between the practice and teaching environment of Connecticut teachers and those in other states may be related to at least three conditions. First, secondary science teachers in Connecticut are required to demonstrate an understanding of, and the ability to implement, inquiry-based instruction; the statewide assessment of student learning includes a component that evaluates competency in some inquiry skills, and survey respondents ranked classroom experience as the primary factor in informing their understanding of inquiry-based instruction.
Descriptors: Portfolio Assessment, Teacher Certification, Science Teachers, Teacher Attitudes, Beginning Teachers, Inquiry, Science Instruction, Teaching Methods, Secondary School Science, Teacher Competencies, Secondary School Teachers, Questionnaires, Teaching Experience, Student Participation, Student Motivation, Student Evaluation
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: High Schools
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Connecticut