Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

College of Natual Science and Mathematics

First Advisor

James Platt, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Kathy Green

Third Advisor

Phillip Danielson

Fourth Advisor

Carole Basile


Biology education, Professional development, Science education, Science misconceptions, Secondary teacher education


An important aspect of developing science literacy for all students is developing science-literate teachers. With the implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act, many middle school teachers found themselves in a position where they were no longer qualified to teach middle school science. This study was designed to help science teachers increase their science content knowledge, identify and resolve misconceptions/errors they may have, and assist them in their teaching by providing strategies for inquiry-based teaching, science laboratory exercises, and science equipment.

Teachers enrolled in biology courses offered by the Rocky Mountain Middle School Math and Science Partnership participated in this study. They were required to take pre-, post-, and follow-up assessments over course concepts, complete a survey over their background and teaching pedagogy, and be observed teaching in their classrooms for three class periods followed by an interview after each observation.

The results included key findings:

1) These assessments indicated that science teachers can increase their science content knowledge by attending high-quality professional development courses designed to help increase basic science content knowledge on science content.

2) Teachers held numerous misconceptions as shown by the assessments and classroom observations. Some were resolved, some that appeared to be resolved at the time of the post test reappeared again on the follow-up test, and some were not resolved.

3) Teacher observations showed that they did use science equipment provided by the course instructors and they taught the content from the Biology course where appropriate. Teachers teaching classes other than biology demonstrated their ability to teach inquiry science by employing inquiry activities and teaching with a "scientific method" approach.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Linda F. Cepeda


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

316 p.


Biology, Science education