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ERIC Number: ED553796
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 142
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3031-0428-2
Bridging the Geoscientist Workforce Gap: Advanced High School Geoscience Programs
Schmidt, Richard William
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Drexel University
The purpose of this participatory action research was to create a comprehensive evaluation of advanced geoscience education in Pennsylvania public high schools and to ascertain the possible impact of this trend on student perceptions and attitudes towards the geosciences as a legitimate academic subject and possible career option. The study builds on an earlier examination of student perceptions conducted at Northern Arizona University in 2008 and 2009 but shifts the focus to high school students, a demographic not explored before in this context. The study consisted of three phases each examining a different facet of the advanced geoscience education issue. Phase 1 examined 572 public high schools in 500 school districts across Pennsylvania and evaluated the health of the state's advanced geoscience education through the use of an online survey instrument where districts identified the nature of their geoscience programs (if any). Phase 2 targeted two groups of students at one suburban Philadelphia high school with an established advanced geoscience courses and compared the attitudes and perceptions of those who had been exposed to the curricula to a similar group of students who had not. Descriptive and statistically significant trends were then identified in order to assess the impact of an advanced geoscience education. Phase 3 of the study qualitatively explored the particular attitudes and perceptions of a random sampling of the advanced geoscience study group through the use of one-on-one interviews that looked for more in-depth patterns of priorities and values when students considered such topics as course enrollment, career selection and educational priorities. The results of the study revealed that advanced geoscience coursework was available to only 8% of the state's 548,000 students, a percentage significantly below that of the other typical K-12 science fields. It also exposed several statistically significant differences between the perceptions and attitudes of the two student research groups that could be contributing to the developing geoscience workforce crisis. However, the study also validated the notion that, in spite of significant blocking forces arrayed in front of them, advanced geoscience programs can be successful and offer viable curricula that serve to increase students' interest and opinions towards the field. By not only recognizing the existence of the geoscience workforce gap but also understanding its root causes, the role of advanced high school geoscience education emerges as an integral part of a solution to the problem. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Secondary Education; High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Pennsylvania