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Dissertations and Theses

Science and Mathematics Education

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Computer-Based Instruction As A Form Of Differentiated Instruction In A Traditional, Teacher-Led, Low-Income, High School Biology Classroom, Cheryl Casey Jul 2018

Computer-Based Instruction As A Form Of Differentiated Instruction In A Traditional, Teacher-Led, Low-Income, High School Biology Classroom, Cheryl Casey

Dissertations and Theses

In 2015 the U.S. continues to struggle with academic achievement in public schools. Average test scores from 15 year olds taking the Program for International Student Assessment placed the U.S. as 38th out of 71 countries (Drew Devlin, 2017). It is common to discuss elimination of the achievement gap as the single most effective way to improve the U.S.'s mediocre standing among the highest scoring countries in the world in primary and secondary student test scores (McGhee,2004; Flemming 2012). In the broadest sense of the term the "achievement gap" refers to the difference in academic ...


Can A Three-Day Training Focusing On The Nature Of Science And Science Practices As They Relate To Mind In The Making Make A Difference In Preschool Teachers' Self-Efficacy Engaging In Science Education?, Colleen Meacham Nov 2017

Can A Three-Day Training Focusing On The Nature Of Science And Science Practices As They Relate To Mind In The Making Make A Difference In Preschool Teachers' Self-Efficacy Engaging In Science Education?, Colleen Meacham

Dissertations and Theses

As technology and our world understanding develop, we will need citizens who are able to ask and answer questions that have not been thought of yet. Currently, high school and college graduates entering the workforce demonstrate a gap in their ability to develop unique solutions and fill the current technology-driven jobs. To address this gap, science needs to be prioritized early in children's lives. The focus of this research was to analyze a science training program that would help pre-school teachers better understand Mind in the Making life skills, the nature of science, science practices, and improve their self-efficacy ...


Investigating Statistics Teachers' Knowledge Of Probability In The Context Of Hypothesis Testing, Jason Mark Asis Dolor Oct 2017

Investigating Statistics Teachers' Knowledge Of Probability In The Context Of Hypothesis Testing, Jason Mark Asis Dolor

Dissertations and Theses

In the last three decades, there has been a significant growth in the number of undergraduate students taking introductory statistics. As a result, there is a need by universities and community colleges to find well-qualified instructors and graduate teaching assistants to teach the growing number of statistics courses. Unfortunately, research has shown that even teachers of introductory statistics struggle with concepts they are employed to teach. The data presented in this research sheds light on the statistical knowledge of graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) and community college instructors (CCIs) in the realm of probability by analyzing their work on surveys and ...


How Does A Next Generation Science Standard Aligned, Inquiry Based, Science Unit Impact Student Achievement Of Science Practices And Student Science Efficacy In An Elementary Classroom?, Kayla Lee Whittington Sep 2017

How Does A Next Generation Science Standard Aligned, Inquiry Based, Science Unit Impact Student Achievement Of Science Practices And Student Science Efficacy In An Elementary Classroom?, Kayla Lee Whittington

Dissertations and Theses

This study examined the impact of an inquiry based Next Generation Science Standard aligned science unit on elementary students' understanding and application of the eight Science and Engineering Practices and their relation in building student problem solving skills. The study involved 44 second grade students and three participating classroom teachers. The treatment consisted of a school district developed Second Grade Earth Science unit: What is happening to our playground? that was taught at the beginning of the school year. Quantitative results from a Likert type scale pre and post survey and from student content knowledge assessments showed growth in student ...


Analyzing The Online Environment: How Are More Effective Teachers Spending Their Time?, Scott Davis Barrentine Aug 2017

Analyzing The Online Environment: How Are More Effective Teachers Spending Their Time?, Scott Davis Barrentine

Dissertations and Theses

Teaching at an online school is so different from classroom teaching that traditional training includes few of the skills necessary to be a successful online teacher. New teachers to an online environment face a steep learning curve in how they'll use the instructional technology, prioritize their time, and establish relationships with their students. The literature has advice for these teachers about effective online practices, but there has been little research to establish which strategies are most effective in motivating students. This pre-experimental study, conducted at an online 6th-12th grade hybrid school, investigated the practices used more often by the ...


Using The Task Analysis Process With Teachers To Uncover Language Demands Within An Eight-Week Ngss Summer Course, Leah Plack Jul 2017

Using The Task Analysis Process With Teachers To Uncover Language Demands Within An Eight-Week Ngss Summer Course, Leah Plack

Dissertations and Theses

The state of Oregon has adopted the Next Generation Science Standards as well as the English Language Proficiency standards, both of which affect elementary school teachers. These standards adoptions challenge teachers and professional developers to rethink how they approach science conceptual understanding and language acquisition. The Math Science Partnership K-6 Instructional Specialist Grant made the decision to incorporate a Task Analysis process, which asks the participant to analyze the demands of a content-based task in the domains of content knowledge, analytical skills and language, into six eight-week summer courses focused on the Next Generation Science Standards. A pre and post-assessment ...


Stereotype Threat And Effects Of Students' Perception Of Their Math Teacher's Fairness On Their Math Self-Efficacy, Alexis Jocelyn Devigal Jul 2017

Stereotype Threat And Effects Of Students' Perception Of Their Math Teacher's Fairness On Their Math Self-Efficacy, Alexis Jocelyn Devigal

Dissertations and Theses

Gender inequalities perpetuated by educational and occupational segregation may be exacerbated in part by socialization processes that occur in the years leading up to when high school students typically begin considering postsecondary options. Students’ feelings of self-efficacy in certain subjects can be an important factor that informs their decisions to pursue coursework and programs. This study used stereotype theory to understand how students' perceptions of their 9th grade math teacher's fairness affected their 11th grade math efficacy and how this relationship was moderated by the gender of the student and their math teacher. Using the High School Longitudinal Study ...


An Examination Of The Relationship Between Professional Development Providers' Epistemological And Nature Of Science Beliefs And Their Professional Development Programs, Alfonso Garcia Arriola Jun 2017

An Examination Of The Relationship Between Professional Development Providers' Epistemological And Nature Of Science Beliefs And Their Professional Development Programs, Alfonso Garcia Arriola

Dissertations and Theses

In the last twenty years in US science education, professional development has emphasized the need to change science instruction from a direct instruction model to a more participatory and constructivist learning model. The result of these reform efforts has seen an increase in science education professional development that is focused on providing teaching strategies that promote inquiry learning to learn science content. Given these reform efforts and teacher responses to professional development, research seems to indicate that whether teachers actually change their practice may depend on the teachers' basic epistemological beliefs about the nature of science. The person who builds ...


Preparing Historically Underserved Students For Stem Careers: The Role Of An Inquiry-Based High School Science Sequence Beginning With Physics, Jon P. Bridges May 2017

Preparing Historically Underserved Students For Stem Careers: The Role Of An Inquiry-Based High School Science Sequence Beginning With Physics, Jon P. Bridges

Dissertations and Theses

Improving the STEM readiness of students from historically underserved groups is a moral and economic imperative requiring greater attention and effort than has been shown to date. The current literature suggests a high school science sequence beginning with physics and centered on developing conceptual understanding, using inquiry labs and modeling to allow students to explore new ideas, and addressing and correcting student misconceptions can increase student interest in and preparation for STEM careers.

The purpose of this study was to determine if the science college readiness of historically underserved students can be improved by implementing an inquiry-based high school science ...


A Pilot Study On Methods To Introduce Teachers To New Science Standards, Noelle Frances Garcia Niedo Apr 2017

A Pilot Study On Methods To Introduce Teachers To New Science Standards, Noelle Frances Garcia Niedo

Dissertations and Theses

With the recent adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards in Oregon, there is a great need for teachers to be trained to effectively implement the three dimensions of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) in their teaching. Time and location are the largest constraining factors that affect teacher participation in professional development trainings. To address this constraint, Tryon Creek State Park offered a NGSS professional development training opportunity for teachers that was integrated within a field trip that they took their students on. Before the field trip, teachers were introduced to the NGSS through a set of NGSS pre-field ...


Exploring Mathematical Capital: An Essential Construct For Mathematical Success?, Marla Ann Lasswell Baber Mar 2017

Exploring Mathematical Capital: An Essential Construct For Mathematical Success?, Marla Ann Lasswell Baber

Dissertations and Theses

In the United States students have traditionally struggled with mathematics. Many students leave the educational system with limited mathematical literacy that can adversely affect their success as a college student, a consumer and citizen. In turn, lack of mathematical literacy affects their socioeconomic status. Through improving their mathematical literacy, students can be more successful not only in mathematics but, it seems in many aspects of their lives. Many researchers have defined mathematical literacy; yet, we need to understand more about how mathematical literacy develops. This study explores a model that identifies four key components that seem to be associated with ...


The Effectiveness Of Participation In A Project-Based Learning Project On At-Risk Student Self-Efficacy, Benjamin Aaron Weber Dec 2016

The Effectiveness Of Participation In A Project-Based Learning Project On At-Risk Student Self-Efficacy, Benjamin Aaron Weber

Dissertations and Theses

Project-based learning is a multifaceted approach to teaching in which students explore real-world problems and challenges while working in small collaborative groups. Project-based learning is active and engaging and drives students to obtain a deeper knowledge of the subjects they're studying, and students develop confidence and self-direction as they move through both team-based and independent work. This project endeavored to assess the effect of participation in a project-based learning (PBL) activity of the Wind and Oar Boat School's curriculum on the self-efficacy of at-risk high school students. Twenty students participated in the program for both math and applied ...


Conventionalizing And Axiomatizing In A Community College Mathematics Bridge Course, Mark Alan Yannotta Aug 2016

Conventionalizing And Axiomatizing In A Community College Mathematics Bridge Course, Mark Alan Yannotta

Dissertations and Theses

This dissertation consists of three related papers. The first paper, Rethinking mathematics bridge courses--An inquiry model for community colleges, introduces the activities of conventionalizing and axiomatizing from a practitioner perspective. In the paper, I offer a curricular model that includes both inquiry and traditional instruction for two-year college students interested in mathematics. In particular, I provide both examples and rationales of tasks from the research-based Teaching Abstract Algebra for Understanding (TAAFU) curriculum, which anchors the inquiry-oriented version of the mathematics bridge course.

The second paper, the role of past experience in creating a shared representation system for a mathematical operation ...


Connecting To Nature, Community, And Self: A Conservation Corps Approach To Re-Engaging At-Risk Youth In Science Education, Sara Jo Linden Jun 2016

Connecting To Nature, Community, And Self: A Conservation Corps Approach To Re-Engaging At-Risk Youth In Science Education, Sara Jo Linden

Dissertations and Theses

The social and environmental challenges of the coming decades will require that individuals possess environmental literacy: the understanding of natural systems combined with a sense of care for the earth, and the confidence and competency to act on its behalf. At the same time, disengaged youth need education environments that foster belonging and promote affective outcomes. The youth conservation corps model provides a natural context for engaging academically at-risk youth in environmental science education, while fostering connection to nature and student self-efficacy in ways that are experiential, relevant, and relationship-based. The focus of this study was a conservation corps program ...


Development Of Middle School Teachers' Knowledge And Pedagogy Of Justification: Three Studies Linking Teacher Conceptions, Teacher Practice, And Student Learning, Carolyn Mccaffrey James Jun 2016

Development Of Middle School Teachers' Knowledge And Pedagogy Of Justification: Three Studies Linking Teacher Conceptions, Teacher Practice, And Student Learning, Carolyn Mccaffrey James

Dissertations and Theses

Justification and argumentation have been identified as important mathematical practices; however, little work has been done to understand the knowledge and pedagogy teachers need to support students in these ambitious practices. Data for this research was drawn from the Justification and Argumentation: Growing Understanding in Algebraic Reasoning (JAGUAR) project. JAGUAR was a multi-year research and professional development project in which 12 middle school math teachers and a group of researchers explored the knowledge and pedagogy needed to support student justifications. This dissertation consists of three case study analyses. The first paper describes the development of teacher conceptions of justification, including ...


Origin And Use Of Pedagogical Content Knowledge: A Case Study Of Three Math Teachers And Their Students, Christopher Neal Wood May 2016

Origin And Use Of Pedagogical Content Knowledge: A Case Study Of Three Math Teachers And Their Students, Christopher Neal Wood

Dissertations and Theses

Teachers must have specific knowledge of a subject and how to teach it to promote learning in their students (also known as pedagogical content knowledge). Research has shown that project-based curriculum can be an effective way for teachers to leverage this knowledge into deeper student understanding and application readiness, but observations about when and how this happens in the classroom have not been adequately documented. In this study we will explore teaching and learning in a middle-school boat-building curriculum focused on real-world application of math concepts. The boat-building program took place over one week, included seven students, and was taught ...


The Intermediate Value Theorem As A Starting Point For Inquiry-Oriented Advanced Calculus, Stephen Raymond Strand Ii May 2016

The Intermediate Value Theorem As A Starting Point For Inquiry-Oriented Advanced Calculus, Stephen Raymond Strand Ii

Dissertations and Theses

Making the transition from calculus to advanced calculus/real analysis can be challenging for undergraduate students. Part of this challenge lies in the shift in the focus of student activity, from a focus on algorithms and computational techniques to activities focused around definitions, theorems, and proofs. The goal of Realistic Mathematics Education (RME) is to support students in making this transition by building on and formalizing their informal knowledge. There are a growing number of projects in this vein at the undergraduate level, in the areas of abstract algebra (TAAFU: Larsen, 2013; Larsen & Lockwood, 2013), differential equations (IO-DE: Rasmussen & Kwon ...


Evaluating An Assessment Instrument For The Oregon Environmental Literacy Plan, Susan Mae Duncan May 2016

Evaluating An Assessment Instrument For The Oregon Environmental Literacy Plan, Susan Mae Duncan

Dissertations and Theses

This mixed methods study evaluated the validity, and reliability of an instrument designed to assess a middle school student's proficiency in systems thinking as described in the 2010 Oregon Environmental Literacy Plan. In Stage 1, a forum of middle school students, formal, and non-formal educators used the Delphi technique to reach consensus regarding which skills were important to include in a scoring guide for systems thinking. In Stage 2, the scoring guide was field tested by formal and non-formal educators using a sample of students' work. The two groups' scores were compared using Cohen's kappa to make inferences ...


Introducing Complex Systems Analysis In High School Mathematics Using System Dynamics Modeling: A Potential Game-Changer For Mathematics Instruction, Diana Marie Fisher May 2016

Introducing Complex Systems Analysis In High School Mathematics Using System Dynamics Modeling: A Potential Game-Changer For Mathematics Instruction, Diana Marie Fisher

Dissertations and Theses

Complex systems abound on this planet, in the composition of the human body, in ecosystems, in social interaction, in political decision-making, and more. Analytical methods allowing us to better understand how these systems operate and, consequently, to have a chance to intervene and change the undesirable behavior of some of the more pernicious systems have developed and continue to be enhanced via quickly changing technology. Some of these analytical methods are accessible by pre-college students, but have not been widely used at that level of education. Jay Forrester, the founder of one of the methodologies, System Dynamics (SD), used to ...


Creating A Learning Continuum: A Critical Look At The Intersection Of Prior Knowledge, Outdoor Education, And Next Generation Science Standards Disciplinary Core Ideas And Practices, Trisha Leigh Schlobohm Mar 2016

Creating A Learning Continuum: A Critical Look At The Intersection Of Prior Knowledge, Outdoor Education, And Next Generation Science Standards Disciplinary Core Ideas And Practices, Trisha Leigh Schlobohm

Dissertations and Theses

Outdoor School is a cherished educational tradition in the Portland, OR region. This program's success is attributed to its presumed ability to positively impact affective and cognitive student outcomes. Residential programs such as Outdoor School are considered to be an important supplement to the classroom model of learning because they offer an authentic, contextually rich learning environment. References to relevant literature support the idea that student gains in affective and cognitive domains occur as a result of the multi-sensory, enjoyable, hands-on nature of outdoor learning. The sample population for this study was 115 sixth graders from a demographically diverse ...


Learning Through Nature: A Study Of A Next Generation Science Standards Based Teacher Workshop That Blends Outdoor Learning Experiences With Formal Science, Ashley Fanning Mar 2016

Learning Through Nature: A Study Of A Next Generation Science Standards Based Teacher Workshop That Blends Outdoor Learning Experiences With Formal Science, Ashley Fanning

Dissertations and Theses

Many teachers lack the confidence and knowledge to transition their classroom science lessons to an outdoor setting. Very few teacher professional development (PD) programs focus on improving teachers' self-efficacy and pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) that is needed to enhance their science curriculum with outdoor lessons. This study examined an exception: The Connect2Science workshops, which provided elementary teachers the opportunity to experience nature-based science lessons. My research question for this study is: In what ways does a professional development workshop focused around the Next Generation Science Standards influence teachers': a) self-efficacy in teaching science outdoors and b) science pedagogical content knowledge ...


Tryon Trekkers: An Evaluation Of A Stem Based Afterschool Program For At-Risk Youth, Chessa Eckels Anderson Mar 2016

Tryon Trekkers: An Evaluation Of A Stem Based Afterschool Program For At-Risk Youth, Chessa Eckels Anderson

Dissertations and Theses

This study contributed to the body of research that supports a holistic model of afterschool learning through the design of an afterschool intervention that benefits elementary school students of low socioeconomic status. This qualitative study evaluated a science focused afterschool curriculum that was designed using principles from Risk and Resiliency Theory, academic motivation theories, science core ideas from the Next Generation Science Standards, and used environmental education philosophy. The research question of this study is: how does an outdoor and STEM based afterschool program impact at-risk students' self-efficacy, belonging and engagement and ability to apply conceptual knowledge of environmental science ...


Growing Stem Education On The Playground: A Case Study Of The Factors That Influence Teachers’ Use Of School Gardens, Megan Poole Mar 2016

Growing Stem Education On The Playground: A Case Study Of The Factors That Influence Teachers’ Use Of School Gardens, Megan Poole

Dissertations and Theses

School gardens can have a profound, positive influence on a student's academic achievement, social skills, and attitudinal orientation. Despite these clear benefits, the use of school gardens as an instructional medium is not as prevalent as would be expected. There are several types of obstacles that can prevent teachers from using school gardens, including facets of time, support, and knowledge-based challenges. This multiple case study employs a mixed methods design to uncover factors that influence primary school teachers' decisions to utilize a school garden in their STEM curriculum. The goals of this study were to determine the types of ...


An Investigation Into Intermediate Grades Teachers' Noticing Of The Mathematical Quality Of Instruction, Krista Lynn Strand Mar 2016

An Investigation Into Intermediate Grades Teachers' Noticing Of The Mathematical Quality Of Instruction, Krista Lynn Strand

Dissertations and Theses

The Mathematical Quality of Instruction (MQI) is an important feature of a classroom mathematics lesson. Before teachers can strengthen the MQI of their own lessons, however, teachers must first be able to notice MQI-related features of instruction. The purpose of this dissertation is to investigate intermediate grades teachers’ MQI-related noticing as they go through a ten-week research-based MQI professional development (PD) program. Specifically, this dissertation is guided by two research questions: (1) How do individual teachers’ noticing of MQI-related features of instruction shift as they go through an MQI-focused professional development program? and (2) How do teachers approach the task ...


Star Academics: Do They Garner Increasing Returns?, James Jeffrey Kline Feb 2016

Star Academics: Do They Garner Increasing Returns?, James Jeffrey Kline

Dissertations and Theses

This study examines the criteria which help academics receive National Institute of Health funds (NIH). The study covers 3,092 NIH recipients and non-recipients in the same department or institute at twenty-four universities. The universities are drawn from those below the top twenty in terms of receipt of NIH funds. With regards to performance, non- recipients have lower performance than recipients. A key determinant of the receipt of NIH funds is individual performance, as measured by the number of articles published and average citations per article in the two years immediately prior to the grant application. Professors receive more NIH ...


Keeley Probes As A Tool For Uncovering Student Ideas: How Do Teachers Use Formative Assessment Probes To Plan And Adapt Instruction?, Kalin Tobler Jan 2016

Keeley Probes As A Tool For Uncovering Student Ideas: How Do Teachers Use Formative Assessment Probes To Plan And Adapt Instruction?, Kalin Tobler

Dissertations and Theses

Formative assessment probes, known as Keeley probes, are one tool teachers use to reveal students' scientific misconceptions, so that they can move them closer to conceptual understanding. The purpose of this research was to document how four elementary school teachers used formative assessment probes to plan and adapt instruction to improve student learning. Specifically:

  • How did teachers choose appropriate probes? What learning goals did teachers hope to address by using the probe??
  • What instructional sequences did teachers envision when planning to use a probe?
  • What did teachers notice when analyzing student data from a probe?
  • How did teachers use the ...


The Effects Of An Overnight Environmental Science Education Program On Students' Attendance Rate Change For Middle School Years, Jennifer Elizabeth Basham Dec 2015

The Effects Of An Overnight Environmental Science Education Program On Students' Attendance Rate Change For Middle School Years, Jennifer Elizabeth Basham

Dissertations and Theses

Programs that engage middle students in participatory, real-world, and hands-on field based instruction can be a powerful asset to the educational experiences for students; motivating and inspiring some to appreciate and value school in a different way. Overnight environmental science programs have a unique opportunity to support students by creating experiences where students can participate in learning in vastly different ways from what they may engage with in the traditional 4-walled classroom, while concurrently developing a relationship with the natural world. Decreasing educational budgets and increased need to substantiate educational programs in terms of their impact on students has added ...


Isn’T Citizen Science A Hoot? A Case-Study Exploring The Effectiveness Of Citizen Science As An Instrument To Teach The Nature Of Science Through A Local Nocturnal Owl-Monitoring Project, Tess Marie Kreofsky Dec 2015

Isn’T Citizen Science A Hoot? A Case-Study Exploring The Effectiveness Of Citizen Science As An Instrument To Teach The Nature Of Science Through A Local Nocturnal Owl-Monitoring Project, Tess Marie Kreofsky

Dissertations and Theses

Citizen science projects present a distinctive opportunity for professional and volunteer scientists to coordinate their efforts to gather unique sets of data that can benefit the scientific and local communities. These projects are assumed to be an effective educational tool to teach nature of science (NOS) to participants (Brossard, Lewenstein, Bonney, 2005). This case study evaluates the effectiveness of participation in a citizen science project as a way to learn about NOS. Through enhancement of the Tryon Creek Owl Monitoring Project the researcher reviewed the characteristics of a citizen science project that were thought to be necessary to impact the ...


The Design And Validation Of A Group Theory Concept Inventory, Kathleen Mary Melhuish Aug 2015

The Design And Validation Of A Group Theory Concept Inventory, Kathleen Mary Melhuish

Dissertations and Theses

Within undergraduate mathematics education, there are few validated instruments designed for large-scale usage. The Group Concept Inventory (GCI) was created as an instrument to evaluate student conceptions related to introductory group theory topics. The inventory was created in three phases: domain analysis, question creation, and field-testing. The domain analysis phase included using an expert consensus protocol to arrive at the topics to be assessed, analyzing curriculum, and reviewing literature. From this analysis, items were created, evaluated, and field-tested. First, 383 students answered open-ended versions of the question set. The questions were converted to multiple-choice format from these responses and disseminated ...


Ninth Grade Student Responses To Authentic Science Instruction, Michael Steven Ellison Jul 2015

Ninth Grade Student Responses To Authentic Science Instruction, Michael Steven Ellison

Dissertations and Theses

This mixed methods case study documents an effort to implement authentic science and engineering instruction in one teacher's ninth grade science classrooms in a science-focused public school. The research framework and methodology is a derivative of work developed and reported by Newmann and others (Newmann & Associates, 1996). Based on a working definition of authenticity, data were collected for eight months on the authenticity in the experienced teacher's pedagogy and in student performance. Authenticity was defined as the degree to which a classroom lesson, an assessment task, or an example of student performance demonstrates construction of knowledge through use ...