Date of Conferral

2017

Degree

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

School

Education

Advisor

Samson E. Lyman

Abstract

Empirical evidence from the National Education Inspectorate suggested that teachers at the primary school in this study in an island country in the Caribbean have inadequate science content knowledge. Students' average performance on the science Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) has been below 40% for the last 5 years. The purpose of this bounded case study, guided by Shulman's conceptual framework, was to understand teachers' science subject matter knowledge (SMK). The guiding questions focused on teachers' abilities to demonstrate components of Shulman's SMK during science teaching and lesson planning and to gather their views on their abilities to meet the SMK components in grades 4â??6. The 9 participants were primary-trained and each had taught science at grades 4â??6 for a minimum of 2 years. Data collection consisted of interviews, lesson observations, and lesson plan reviews. Data were analyzed using open coding, axial coding, and themes from Shulman's SMK domains. The participants believed that they lacked proficiency in teaching science at the assigned grade level. They held misconceptions about the topics taught at the Grade 4-6 level and their lesson plans and observation data demonstrated lack of key components of SMK. Findings from this study were used to develop a science professional development project to empower teachers and, in turn, students in science content and processes. It is expected that implementation of the program could improve the science content knowledge of teachers at the primary school in this study. Positive social change might occur as improvement in teachers' science content knowledge might serve to improve students' learning outcomes in science at this and other settings in the island country.

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