Date of Conferral
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB)'s emphasis of reading, language arts, and mathematics (RLA&M) and its de-emphasis of science has been a source of great concern among educators. Through an objectivist and constructionist framework, this study explored the unforeseen effects of the NCLB on public science education among Title I (TI) and non-Title I (NTI) students. The research questions focused on the effects of NCLB on Criterion Referenced Competency Test (CRCT) scores in the high-stakes subjects of reading, language arts, mathematics and the low stakes subject of science among TI and NTI 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students in a north Georgia County during the 2010/2011 school year. This study also compared instructional time TI and NTI teachers dedicated to science. A causal-comparative quantitative methodology was used to analyze Georgia's public domain CRCT scores. Three independent-samples t tests showed that TI schools exhibited significantly lower Science CRCT scores than did NTI students at all grade levels (p < 0.0001). The data also showed CRCT scores in high-stakes subjects between TI and NTI students converging but science CRCT scores between TI and NTI students diverging. The self-report survey indicated no significant differences between TI and NTI teachers' instructional science time (t (107) = 1.49, p = 0.137). A teacher development project was designed to focus on improving teacher science content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge through a formal introduction to the nature of science. With increasing global science competition, science is more relevant than ever, and communities need students with strong science foundations. Further study is recommended to analyze the factors associated with this science gap between TI and NTI students.