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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to elucidate the repertoires of competencies within which a novice's growth was perceived as important to effective science teaching. To obtain perceptual response data, the Science Teacher Competency Sorting Instrument was developed, pilot-tested, and administered to random national subsamples of science teachers, supervisors, and teacher educators. Data obtained was tabulated and subjected to common factor analysis. Eleven factors were extracted, rotated, and given designations which described the nature of the interrelationships existing among their subsumed variables. The establishment of contrast vectors provided a means to investigate the degrees of consensus and disagreement existing among the subsamples concerning their attributions of importance to growth in the derived factors. The repertoires established were found to generally reflect the categories specified a priori in previous studies while being more descriptive and precise. While growth in most factors was viewed with equal importance, science teachers and teacher educators differed in the emphasis given to two factors pertaining to instruction. Teachers stressed growth in class-centered presentational skills to a greater extent than their colleagues in higher education who emphasized growth in skills promoting scientific literacy. The paper concludes by discussing some implications of the findings for secondary science teacher education.