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Abstract

This study assessed the effectiveness of one science teacher education program designed to be a model program. The study provided evidence that preservice science teacher education can have a very positive effect on the development of preservice science teachers into effective practicing teachers. Thirty program graduates completed a pilot version of the 1985 National Survey of Science and Mathematics Education providing information on course objectives, teaching strategies, equipment use, time allocation, and textbook use. The responses of program graduates were compared to the responses of a select national sample of teachers. All teachers in the comparison group were from programs in the Search for Excellence in Science Education, Presidential Award winners, recognized as outstanding state science teachers, employed as department chairs, or actively involved in the development of science curriculum. Analysis of the responses indicated that both program graduates and comparison group teachers had similar course objectives and teaching strategies, used materials and equipment a similar amount of time, and allocated class time in similar ways. In another component of the study, students of 37 program graduates completed a questionnaire that assessed their attitudes toward science teachers, science classes, and the study of science. Analysis of attitudinal data from their 2871 students indicated that students of program graduates generally had positive attitudes. For instance, 89% of the students perceived their science teacher as asking questions and 80% perceived their science teacher as letting them ask questions. In general, the data are in stark contrast to the images obtained from National Assessment efforts.