Date of Conferral

1-1-2009

Degree

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

School

Education

Advisor

Gerald Giraud

Abstract

The purpose of this phenomenological study was to describe the experiences of science educators as they select and develop assessment methods for inquiry learning. Balancing preparations for standardized tests and authentic inquiry assessment experiences can be challenging for science educators. The review of literature revealed that current research focused on instructional methods and assessment, students' assessment experiences, and teachers' instructional methods experiences. There remains a gap in current literature regarding the experiences of science educators as they select and develop assessment methods for inquiry learning. This study filled the gap by providing a description of the experiences of science educators as they select and develop assessments for inquiry learning. The participants in this study were 16 fifth through eighth grade science teachers who participate in the Alabama Math, Science, and Technology Initiative (AMSTI) in northwest Alabama. A phenomenological research method was chosen in order to describe the experiences of AMSTI science teachers as they select and develop assessments for inquiry learning. Data were collected through interviews and focus group discussions. The data analysis used a modified Stevick-Colaizzi-Keen framework. The results showed AMSTI science teachers use a variety of assessment resources and methods, feel pressures to meet Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), and implement varying degrees of change in their assessment process due to No Child Left Behind (NCLB). Contributing a positive social change, this study's findings supplied science teachers with descriptions of successful inquiry classrooms and creative assessments that correspond to inquiry-based learning methods.