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An investigation of teacher impact on student inquiry science performance using a hierarchical linear model



Teachers play a central role in inquiry science classrooms. In this study, we investigate how seven teacher variables (i.e., gender, experience, perceived importance of inquiry and traditional teaching, workshop attendance, partner teacher, use of technology) affect student knowledge integration understanding of science topics drawing on previous research. Using a two-level hierarchical linear model, we analyze year-end knowledge integration performance of 4,513 students taught by 40 teachers across five states. Results indicate that students of teachers who value inquiry teaching strategies have significantly higher levels of knowledge integration understanding than those of teachers who believe in traditional teaching methods. In addition, workshop attendance and having a partner teacher teaching the same unit in the same school also have a positive impact on students' knowledge integration levels. The results underscore the importance of professional development and collegial support in enhancing student success in inquiry science. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 47:807–819, 2010