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Influence of subject matter discipline and science content knowledge on National Board Certified science teachers' conceptions, enactment, and goals for inquiry

ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 2009
Dissertation
Author: Wayne Gene Breslyn
Abstract:
The present study investigated differences in the continuing development of National Board Certified Science Teachers' (NBCSTs) conceptions of inquiry across the disciplines of biology, chemistry, earth science, and physics. The central research question of the study was, "How does a NBCST's science discipline (biology, chemistry, earth science, or physics) influence their conceptions, enactment, and goals for inquiry-based teaching and learning?" A mixed methods approach was used that included an analysis of the National Board portfolio entry, Active Scientific Inquiry , for participants (n=48) achieving certification in the 2007 cohort. The portfolio entry provided detailed documentation of teachers' goals and enactment of an inquiry lesson taught in their classroom. Based on the results from portfolio analysis, participant interviews were conducted with science teachers (n=12) from the 2008 NBCST cohort who represented the science disciplines of biology, chemistry, earth science, and physics. The interviews provided a broader range of contexts to explore teachers' conceptions, enactment, and goals of inquiry. Other factors studied were disciplinary differences in NBCSTs' views of the nature of science, the relation between their science content knowledge and use of inquiry, and changes in their conceptions of inquiry as result of the NB certification process. Findings, based on a situated cognitive framework, suggested that differences exist between biology, chemistry, and earth science teachers' conceptions, enactment, and goals for inquiry. Further, individuals teaching in more than one discipline often held different conceptions of inquiry depending on the discipline in which they were teaching. Implications for the research community include being aware of disciplinary differences in studies on inquiry and exercising caution in generalizing findings across disciplines. In addition, teachers who teach in more than one discipline can highlight the contextual and culturally based nature of teachers' conceptions of inquiry. For the education community, disciplinary differences should be considered in the development of curriculum and professional development. An understanding of disciplinary trends can allow for more targeted and relevant representations of inquiry

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Problem Statement

Introduction 1

NBPTS Background 2

Research Questions 7

Theoretical Framework 8

Rationale 10

Significance 17

Purpose 21

Beginning of Study Researcher Positionality 21

Terms 23

Limitations 24

Assumptions 26

Chapter Two: Literature Review 27

Introduction 27

Inquiry and the Nature of Science 28

Inquiry 30

Nature of Science 33

Situative Perspective

35

Teachers’ Conceptions of Inquiry and The Nature of Science 39

Conceptions, Beliefs, Views, Orientations, and Ideas about Inquiry 40

Conceptions and Enactment of Inquiry and the NB Certification Process 43

Measuring Teachers’ Conceptions of Inquiry 45

Analyzing Portfolios 46

Teachers’ Conceptions of Nature of Science and its Measurement 47

The Views of Nature of Science Questionnaire, Version C (VNOS-C) 47

Views of Science-Technology-Society (VOSTS) 49

Interviews and Teachers’ Conceptions of Inquiry 50

Factors Influencing Teachers’ Conceptions of Inquiry 54

Science Discipline 54

Science Content Knowledge 56

Previous Scientific Experience 58

Chapter 3: Methodology 61

Overview 61

Research Setting 62

Portfolio Entry Two: Active Scientific Inquiry 62

Assessment Center Exercises 64

Participants 65

Procedural Framework 66

Instrumentation 69

Data Analysis 75

Confidentiality and Data Collection and Storage 77

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Chapter Four: Quantitative Results 79

Influence of Discipline 80

Influence of Discipline on Enactment of Inquiry 81

Influence of Discipline on NBCST Goals of Inquiry 89

Primary and Secondary Goals of Inquiry 92

NBCSTs’ Conceptions of the Nature of Science 98

Assessment Center Exercises 112

Chapter Five: Participant Interviews and Cross Case Analysis 120

Introduction 120

NBCSTs’ Conceptions, Enactment, and Goals for Inquiry 125

Participant Case: Scott 126

Participant Case: Amy 135

Participant Case: Tom 144

Participant Case: Anita 155

Participant Case: Peter 163

Participant Case: Allen 174

Participant Case: Donna 185

Participant Case: Sarah 192

Participant Case: Cathy 201

Participant Case: Carl 214

Participant Case: Diane 224

Participant Case: Jane 233

Cross-Case Analysis of Participants’ Conception, Enactment, Goals for Inquiry 244

Inquiry as Students Conducting Scientific Investigations 248

Inquiry as Science Content Knowledge 250

Inquiry as Modeling 251

Inquiry and Nature of Science 256

NOS and K-12 Science Education 257

Empirically based nature of science 259

Social and embedded nature of science 261

Comparison to Views of Science-Technology-Society (VOSTS) results 26 2

Views of Science-Technology- Society Instrument Data 266

Influence of Science Content Knowledge on Inquiry Teaching 272

Changes in Teachers’ Conception and Enactment of Inquiry as a Result of the NB Certification Process 273

Participants who Experienced Considerable Change 276

Participants Experiencing Minor Change 284

Participants Experiencing No Change 288

Chapter 6: Discussion 298

Introduction and Theoretical Framework 298

296

Activity of Teaching with Inquiry 299

Quantitative Results: Portfolio Analysis and VOSTS 300

Qualitative Findings: Participant Interviews 305

Context and Teaching with Inquiry 308

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Structure of Disciplines 309

Students 316

Testing and Curriculum 317

Discourse Communities 321

Past Discourse Communities 322

Participation in science education discourse communities as students 323

Previous Scientific Research 324

Preservice and induction experiences 328

Present Discourse Communities 329

The science education community: past and present 329

The School as a Discourse Community 332

The NB Discourse Community and NBCST Change 335

Professional development 338

Chapter 7 340

Theory of Disciplinary Differences in Secondary Science 340

Research Implications 347

Practical Implications 349

Future Research 529

End of Study Researcher Positionality 354

Appendix A: Portfolio Inventory Instrument 364

Appendix B: Interview Design and Protocol 369

Appendix C: Institutional Review Board 373

References 383

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List of Tables

Table 1. Disciplines of Participants 81

Table 2. ANOVA Summary for Portfolio Inventory Items across Disci plines 85

Table 3. Primary Goals of Inquiry 92

Table 4. Biology NBCSTs' Primary and Secondary Goals of Inquiry by Discipline 93

Table 5. Chemistry NBCSTs’ Primary and Secondary Goals of Inquiry by Discipline 94

Table 6. Earth Science NBCSTs’ Primary and Secondary Goals of Inquiry

by Discipline 95

Table 7. Physics NBCSTs’ Primary and Secondary Goals of Inquiry by Discipline 96

Table 8. Primary and Secondary Goals of Inquiry by Discipline 97

Table 9. NBCSTs Completing the VOSTS Questions 100

Table 10. Nature of Scientific Knowledge: Scientific Models 103

Table 11. Percentage and Number of Responses by Discipline 104

Table 12. Nature of Scientific Knowledge: Tentativeness of Scientific Knowledge 105

Table 13. Percentage and Number of Responses by Discipline 106

Table 14. Nature of Scientific Knowledge: Precision & Uncertainty in Scientific/Technological Knowledge 106

Table 15. Percentage and Number of Responses by Discipline 107

Table 16. Social Construction of Scientific Knowledge: Scientific Decisions 108

Table 17. Percentage and Number of Responses by Discipline 109

Table 18. Nature of Scientific Reasoning: Logical Reasoning, Cause/Effe ct 109

Table 19. Percentage and Number of Responses by Discipline 110

Table 20. Correlation Matrix for Assessment Center Exercise Fundamental

Knowledge scores and Portfolio Invention Instrument Item Scores 114

Table 21. Correlation Matrix for Assessment Center Exercise Breadth of Knowledge scores and Portfolio Invention Instrument Item Scores 116

Table 22. Participants 122

Table 23. Participant Context: Multiple Disciplines 123

Table 24. Participants' Conception, Enactment, Goals for Inquiry 246

Table 25. Participants’ Conception, Enactment, Goals for Inquiry: Multiple Disciplines 247

Table 26. Frequency of Goals of Inquiry for Disciplines 254

Table 27. Primary Goals of Inquiry 255

Table 28. Changes in Conception and Enactment of Inquiry After Certification Process 277

Table 29 Hybrid Teachers and Inquiry 349

Table 30. Grade Level and Predominant Form of Inquiry

356

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List of Figures Figure 1. Procedural workflow for proposed study 68

Figure 2. Assessment Center Exercises Scores from Fundamental Concept s assessment and Portfolio II Scores for Item 3B 115

Figure 3. Assessment Center Exercises Scores from Fundamental Concept s assessment and Portfolio II Scores for Item HYPO 116

Figure 4. Geographic location of participants 124

Figure 5. Organization and interaction of influences leading to the theme of Students Conducting Scientific Investigations 343

viii

1

Chapter 1: Problem Statement Introduction

Despite widespread agreement

in the science education reform community

that inquiry should be an integral part of science teaching and learning, research indica tes that little inquiry is actually taking place (American Association for the Advanc ement of Science , 1992;

Lotter, Harwood, & Bonner, 2007; National Research Council, 1996; Wells, 1995). Even with considerable time and resources invested in articulating and promoting a vision of reform for science education inquiry is oftentimes missing from the science classroom (AAAS, 1992, NRC, 1996, NSTA, 1995). Central to this study was the role inquiry holds in that vision and how teachers in different subject matter disciplines think about and enact inquiry. Research has identified barriers perceived by science teachers to impl ement inquiry in their classrooms (Brickhouse, 1990; Keys & Bryan, 2001; McGinnis, Parker, & Graeber, 2004; Wallace & Kang, 2004). Time constraints, external examinations, student maturity and ability, local school culture, and other factors have been cite d by teachers as barriers to using inquiry teaching in their classrooms. While ident ifying these barriers has provided valuable insights, little has changed at the classroom leve l. Inquiry remains inconsistently enacted, and when enacted it often differs from the i ntentions of reform documents and curricula designers (Abd-El-Khalick, 2004, Anderson, 2002; NRC, 1996). Professional development is often described as a key element in promoting teachers’ use of inquiry in the classroom. Studies have shown that professional development can result in changes to teachers’ conceptions of inquiry (Crawford, 2007;

2

Luft, 2001; Songer, Lee, & McDonald, 2003). However, professional development often does not result in changes in classroom practice (Lee, Hart, Cuevas, & Enders, 2004; Lotter, Harwood, & Bonner, 2007). With the current emphasis on inquiry within the science education community, this study aimed to build on a professional development experience that has been shown to increase teachers’ understanding about inquiry: the National Board (NB) ce rtification process (Lustick & Sykes, 2006; Park & Oliver, 2008). The National Board certificat ion ( Adolescent and Young Adult: Science certification area) provides a uniform, rigorous, and substantial data source to study teachers’ conceptions of inquiry. During the 2006-2007 school year I was a NB candidate in the Adolescent and Young Adult: Science ( AYA Science ) certification area (chemistry). In November 2007 I was awarded NB certification. The NB certification experience and my pe rsonal interest in teaching with inquiry led me to wonder how the NB certification could help us understand how teachers think about inquiry. The following description of the certification process is provided to situate the study. NBPTS Background Established in 1987 with a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) certified it s first cohort of teachers in 1993. Today more than 74,000 teachers have achieved certification with over 9,600 new recipients in 2008. According to the NPBTS website, National Board Certified Teachers (NB CTs) advance the quality of teaching and learning by:

3

Maintaining high and rigorous standards for what accomplished teachers should know and be able to do.

Providing a national voluntary system certifying teachers who meet these standards.

Advocating related education reforms to integrate National Board Certifica tion in American education and to capitalize on the expertise of National Board Certi fied Teachers (NBPTS, 2009a). There are currently 25 available certificate areas ranging from early childhood to young adulthood across a variety of subject areas. Within each certificate a rea there are further divisions. For example, this study focused on the AYA Science certificate area, which consists of Biology, Chemistry, Earth/Space Science, and Physics spe cialty areas. AYA Science certification can be obtained in one of these four areas. The certification process is rigorous and time consuming. Only about 40 percent of candidates achieve certification the first year; about 65 percent do so by the end of the three-year cycle. In addition, teachers spend from 200 to 400 hours to prepare and complete the certification process (NBPTS, 2009a). This rigorous, extensive c ertification process provides a rich data source for exploring teachers’ ideas about teachi ng and their science content knowledge. National Board Core Propositions and Standards

The National Board has identified five areas, termed Core Propositions , which provide a vision of accomplished teaching. These are: Proposition 1 : Teachers are committed to students and learning.

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Proposition 2 : Teachers know the subjects they teach and how to teach those subjects to students. Proposition 3 : Teachers are responsible for managing and monitoring student learning. Proposition 4 : Teachers think systematically about their practice and learn from experience. Proposition 5 : Teachers are members of learning communities.

Of the five, this study primarily examined Proposition 2 and 4. In addition to the Core Propositions , NB provides a set of standards for each certificate area. Standards are generated by a committee of teach ers, distributed to the education community for review and comment, and are then approved by the NBPTS Board of Directors. In this manner, the standards represent a consensus view of what

constitutes accomplished teaching in that certificate area. Of the twe lve AYA Science

standards, “ Understanding Science ,” “ Fostering Science Inquiry ,” and “ Reflecting on Teaching and Learning ” are most relevant to this study. Teachers are encouraged to continually refer back to the standards as they think and write about their teaching . Portfolio and Assessment Center Exercises

The AYA Science certificate process consists of the construction of a portfolio documenting candidates’ teaching and a series of assessments focused pri marily on knowledge of teaching and content. The portfolio is weighted as 60% of a candidate’s score and the Assessment Center exercises make up the remaining 40%. The ma jority of teachers’ time is spent preparing the portfolio although many teachers spen d considerable time preparing for the Assessment Center exercises.

5

The AYA Science portfolio consists of four entries: Teaching a Major Idea in Science , Active Scientific Inquiry , Whole Class Discussion in Science , and Documented Accomplishments: Contributions to Student Learning . The focus of this study is the portfolio entry Active Scientific Inquiry . The entry

requires that the candidate:

Plan and teach an inquiry science lesson or lesson sequence.

Generate a 20-minute video engaging students in active scientific inquiry.

Describe, analyze, and reflect upon their lesson and video in a thirteen-page document. The guidelines, instructions, and rubric by which the entry will be assessed are specific and detailed. From a research perspective, this provides a consistent and uniform set of conditions for portfolio creation. All participants are provided with identical

instructions, requirements, and scoring rubrics. While teaching environments do vary considerably, teachers’ interpretation and work on their portfolio tells us a lot about the conceptions they hold for inquiry teaching and learning. Assessment Center exercises are composed of six sections that examine cont ent knowledge specified in the NBPTS standards. Candidates are given 30 minutes to respond to each exercise. Assessments are administered at an authorized te sting facility via computer. The Assessment Center exercises for AYA Science are: Exercise 1: Data Analysis Exercise 2: Interrelationships Exercise 3: Fundamental Concepts

Exercise 4: Change Over Time (Biological, Physical, and Earth Sciences specialty areas)

-OR- Exercise 4: Changes in Systems (Chemistry specialty area only)

Exercise 5: Connections in Science Exercise 6: Breadth of Knowledge

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In this study, Exercise 3: Fundamental Concepts was used

to provide a measure of teachers’ science content knowledge. For Exercise 3: Teachers will be asked to demonstrate a depth of content knowledge in their specialized field. They will be given a visual, mathematical, or graphical representation of a concept and will give a description of the concept, analyze relationships, and discuss consequences of changes (NBPTS, 2009b, p. 3).

In addition, Exercise 6: Breadth of Knowledge was used to provide a measure of teachers’ understanding of science content knowledge across the disciplined of biology, chemistry, earth science, and physics. Teachers will be asked to demonstrate knowledge across the science disciplines and describe a major idea in science. They will then explain a concept in each of the three major sciences not in their specialty and relate the concepts to the major idea (NBPTS, 2009b, p. 3).

Summary Teachers achieving National Board certification have completed a rigor ous, reflective, and uniform professional development experience. They have planned, enacted, described, analyzed, and reflected on their teaching and on students’ lear ning in their portfolio entries. In addition, through Assessment Center exercises, the y have been assessed on their science content knowledge in both their specific discipline and in m ore general science concepts (e.g. data analysis, other science disciplinar y knowledge, etc).

The portfolio entry, Active Scientific Inquiry, along with Assessment Center scores, provides rich data for studying NBCSTs’ conceptions of inquiry, especia lly when

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supported by participant interviews and the Views of Science-Technology-Soci ety (VOSTS) questionnaire. Research Questions Using National Board Certification in Adolescent and Young Adult: Science as a rigorous and uniform treatment, there were three primary questions addressed by the present study. First, factors influencing teachers’ conception, enactment, a nd goals of inquiry were explored to address the research question: “How does a NBCST’s science discipline (biology, chemistry, earth science, or physics) influence their conc eptions, enactment, and goals for inquiry-based teaching and learning?”

Second, the influence of teachers’ science content knowledge on their conceptions of inquiry was addressed. “How does science subject area content knowledge influence teachers’ enactment of inquiry-based teaching and learning?” Finally, building upon findings from the above questions, the current study investigated changes in teachers’ conception and enactment of inquiry as a result of the NB certification process. While the portfolio and Assessment Center exerc ises provided considerable data, to develop a richer and fuller understanding of the factors that

influence teachers’ conceptions of inquiry required additional sources. In the case of this study, interviews and the VOSTS questionnaire provided such data. “ How did the National Board certification process alter teachers’ conceptions of inquiry? ” Research findings in this study contribute to the literature on professional development and teacher practice of inquiry. In addition, the present study may guide improvements in the design and implementation of professional development efforts and potentially lead to more effective experiences for teachers.

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Theoretical Framework The current study originally adopted a sociocultural perspective in the planning and design of instrumentation and protocols. Lemke (2001, p. 296) described the sociocultural perspective as “ Viewing science, science education, and research on science education as human social activities constructed within institutional and cultural frameworks. ” Others have used a sociocultural perspective to study science teaching. McGi nnis and Simmons (1999) studied teachers’ perspectives of teaching science-technolog y-society (STS) issues in the classroom. The sociocultural framework allowed them to st udy teachers’ beliefs about how controversial STS issues were influenced by local cultures. Regarding teaching with inquiry, Wallace and Kang (2004) noted that it is importa nt to take into account how teachers’ beliefs about inquiry have developed as a result of the

social context and culture of the classroom. These studies have shown that the sociocultural perspective is an appropriate framework for studying scienc e teaching. The sociocultural perspective is well suited for studying how teachers think about and enact inquiry in their classrooms. Both the development of teachers’ conceptions of inquiry and how they use it in the classroom are strongly influenced by their intera ctions with others. Therefore, an emphasis on these interactions was expected to represe nt a theoretically productive approach.

As the study progressed and data analysis took place, however, it was recognize d that a more specific theoretical framework was needed to assist in identifyi ng and organizing results from portfolio analysis and themes emerging from parti cipant interviews. In particular, there was a need to take into account the context of te achers’

9

practice and the communities in which they interacted. A situated cognitive pe rspective was selected to provide a framework with sufficient explanatory power for this analysis. Situated cognition, located within a sociocultural research paradigm, posits that

learning takes place within a social context and culture and that the two are i ntimately related (Brown, Collins, & Duguid, 1989). According to Lave and Wenger (1991), learning is dependent upon context, is socially negotiated, and takes place through enculturation into communities of practice. In this sense, the situative perspecti ve emphasizes systems of interactions rather than individual behavioral or cogni tive processes (Greeno, 1997). As Borko (2004) states, teacher learning takes place in a variety of contexts: the classroom, school communities, professional development activities, and interactions

with colleagues. In this study of NBCSTs, the NB certification process, in par ticular the construction of the portfolio entry Active Scientific Inquiry , provides an opportunity to study the context in which teaching with inquiry takes place. In addition to portfolio analysis, participant interviews allowed for further exploration of context s and an opportunity to investigate the discourse communities that influence NBCSTs’ conceptions, enactment, and goals for inquiry. Teaching with inquiry takes place within the social context of the classroom, school, and larger education community. How teachers think about and enact inquiry is influenced not only by these contexts, but also by the communities in which they intera ct and have interacted in the past. Examples of these discourse communities include NBCSTs’ experiences as students, previous scientific research experienc es, and interactions with other teachers.

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While not as much research has been done with teachers, Putnam and Borko (2000) present a description of how the situative perspective can be used to study tea cher learning. Three central ideas of the situative perspective are that learning is situated in a social or physical context, social in nature, and distributed. Building on recent resea rch, they conclude by stating that the situative perspective, with its view of cog nition as social, situated, and distributed, offers a framework for studying teaching a nd teacher learning. Of particular interest to this study are the social context of teaching wit h inquiry and the discourse communities in which teachers participate. Viewing NBCSTs ’ conception, enactment, and goals though a situative lens provides a productive and relevant framework to analyze their teaching with inquiry. Rationale

Currently, gaps exist in our understanding about influences on teachers’ conceptions and enactment of inquiry. Specifically, we know little about how teacher s’ discipline (biology, chemistry, earth/space science, physics) influence s their conception of inquiry. Considerable work has been done at the departmental level (e.g., English, Science, Social Studies, etc.) and in secondary schools (Grossman & Stodolsky, 1995) but it is not clear that this generalizes to within departments and specifical ly to science. Further, the influence of subject area content knowledge on inquiry teaching has been documented in the literature (Alexander, 1992; Brickhouse, 1990; Smith, et al. , 2007; Smith & Neale, 1989) but there is a dearth of mixed methodology studies with a developed quantitative aspect investigating the link between domain knowledge and inquiry teaching. The current study seeks to explore these factors and place them in

11

context with teachers’ conceptions of inquiry as a result of a professional de velopment experience. The above factors do not exist in isolation; context is crucial. To merely identi fy the existence of factors does not elucidate their interaction with teachers’ conceptions of inquiry, decisions they make, and life in the classroom. Recent research has indicat ed that the NB certification process does result in significant gains in teacher s’ understanding of inquiry (Lustick & Sykes, 2006; Park & Oliver, 2008). Based on evidence that teachers are learning from the NB process, the present study used a mixed methodology to identify the factors and to place them in the context of teacher change and classroom practice. To provide a clear and consistent discussion format, the rationale is divided into three sections based on the research questions. Influences on teachers’ conceptions and enactment of inquiry

Considerable research has been done on inquiry and teacher beliefs (Brickhouse, 1990; Kane, Sandretto, & Heath, 2002; Nespor, 1987; Pajares, 1992) and conceptions (Wallace & Kang, 2004; Lotter, 2005; Lederman, et al., 2002) about inquiry. However, as Windschitl (2004, p. 481) stated, “… little is known about how teachers conceptualize inquiry, how these conceptions are formed and reinforced, how they relate to work done by scientists, and if these ideas about inquiry are translated into classroom practice .”

The NB certification process provides a rich data set to explore NBCSTs ’ conceptions of inquiry and describe how the certification process led to changes in teachers’ conception of inquiry.

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Influence of science discipline on teacher’s conceptions and enactment

of inquiry.

At the secondary level, minimal research has been done on the influence of the teachers’ subject area (biology, chemistry, earth/space science, phys ics) on their enactment and conceptions of inquiry. A thorough review of the literature yielded f ew results. Of these, none provided a theoretical or practical basis for understandi ng how science subject area influences teachers’ conceptions of inquiry at the se condary level. An understanding of subject area specific conceptions of inquiry can inform our theoretical understanding of inquiry teaching. It can also offer insights into how t eachers from different disciplines think about and enact inquiry teaching. High school teachers often define themselves by the departments in which they teach; for example, social studies, English, or science (Grossman & Stodolsky, 1995) . This is also case within departments; perhaps to even a higher degree in scienc e. While it is common for teachers to teach two subject areas, teachers tend to identify mor e with a specific subject. This subject area focus has important implications for unders tanding how teachers think about inquiry. For example, if biology and physics teachers have differing conceptions about the importance of alternate explanations in inquiry, t his could provide insights into their conception of inquiry and have implications for professional development, curriculum development, and classroom practice. Research scientists often use different methodologies and have different approaches to and conceptions of scientific inquiry. For this study, it was thought t hat similar differences exist between science subject areas and that dif ferences in conceptions of inquiry also exist. This study sought to identify and explore the extent to which

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differences between subject areas exist and how this ultimately influenc es teachers’ conceptions and enactment of inquiry. Influence of teachers’ science content knowledge on inquiry teaching. Subject area content knowledge has been shown to influence teaching with inquiry (Alexander, 1992; Brickhouse, 1990; Smith, et al. , 2007; Smith & Neale, 1989). According to Anderson (2002), an insufficient body of research has been carried out on how teachers’ content knowledge influences their instruction. However, case study

research has suggested that it is important (Smith, 2007). Further, studies in mat hematics education support the idea that content knowledge is necessary to implement inquiry- oriented instruction (Loucks-Horsley, Hewson, Love, & Stiles, 1998; Schneider & Krajcik, 2002). The current study sought to strengthen our understanding of the importance of content knowledge as it relates to inquiry teaching. Specificall y, it aimed to identify aspects of inquiry that are related to teachers’ subject matte r content knowledge. What Leads to Change in Teachers’ Conception of Inquiry? Identifying the influence of subject area and science content knowledge has

limited potential for extending our knowledge of inquiry teaching. We must look at the context in which the factors operate to develop a fuller view of their influence on teachers’ practice. While analysis of the portfolio entry, VOSTS questi onnaire responses, and Assessment Center scores can help us understand the relationships between the science subject area content knowledge and teacher conceptions, it is necessary to talk directly with teachers to explore the context in which they think about inquiry .

Full document contains 408 pages
Abstract: The present study investigated differences in the continuing development of National Board Certified Science Teachers' (NBCSTs) conceptions of inquiry across the disciplines of biology, chemistry, earth science, and physics. The central research question of the study was, "How does a NBCST's science discipline (biology, chemistry, earth science, or physics) influence their conceptions, enactment, and goals for inquiry-based teaching and learning?" A mixed methods approach was used that included an analysis of the National Board portfolio entry, Active Scientific Inquiry , for participants (n=48) achieving certification in the 2007 cohort. The portfolio entry provided detailed documentation of teachers' goals and enactment of an inquiry lesson taught in their classroom. Based on the results from portfolio analysis, participant interviews were conducted with science teachers (n=12) from the 2008 NBCST cohort who represented the science disciplines of biology, chemistry, earth science, and physics. The interviews provided a broader range of contexts to explore teachers' conceptions, enactment, and goals of inquiry. Other factors studied were disciplinary differences in NBCSTs' views of the nature of science, the relation between their science content knowledge and use of inquiry, and changes in their conceptions of inquiry as result of the NB certification process. Findings, based on a situated cognitive framework, suggested that differences exist between biology, chemistry, and earth science teachers' conceptions, enactment, and goals for inquiry. Further, individuals teaching in more than one discipline often held different conceptions of inquiry depending on the discipline in which they were teaching. Implications for the research community include being aware of disciplinary differences in studies on inquiry and exercising caution in generalizing findings across disciplines. In addition, teachers who teach in more than one discipline can highlight the contextual and culturally based nature of teachers' conceptions of inquiry. For the education community, disciplinary differences should be considered in the development of curriculum and professional development. An understanding of disciplinary trends can allow for more targeted and relevant representations of inquiry