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Measuring Change In Engineering And Science Graduate Students’ Teaching Efficacy As A Result Of Participation In A Gk 12 Project

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Mentoring Graduate Students, Diversity, and Assessment

Tagged Division

Graduate Studies

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.862.1 - 15.862.15



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Paper Authors

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Stephen Thompson University of South Carolina

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Joy Watson University of South Carolina

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Jed Lyons University of South Carolina

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Measuring Change in Engineering and Science Graduate Students’ Teaching Efficacy as a Result of Participation in a GK-12 Project

Abstract In the 1990s the National Science Foundation (NSF) introduced the Graduate Teaching Fellows in K-12 Education (GK-12) initiative. The GK-12 program supports the participation of graduate students from STEM disciplines, called GK-12 Fellows, in K-12 Science and Mathematics education. One of the primary goals of the GK-12 initiative is to improve GK-12 Fellows’ communication and teaching skills in the hope that these improvements will lead to more effective teaching when GK-12 Fellows matriculate into the professorate. This study examined how participation in one GK-12 program influenced the teaching beliefs and self- confidence (known as teaching efficacy) of the participating GK-12 Fellows. Teaching efficacy has been shown to correlate with student achievement, instructional innovation, instructor enthusiasm and persistence, and student interest in school. The GK-12 Fellows involved in this study were members of two different cohorts that worked collaboratively in partnerships with middle school Science teachers. The GK-12 Fellows, from engineering and science disciplines, spent one to two days each week over an entire school year in the middle school classrooms. Their primary objectives in the classrooms were co-developing and co-teaching student lessons focused on science and engineering concepts.

The Science Teaching Efficacy Belief Instrument (STEBI-B) and supporting focus group data were used to measure the GK-12 Fellows’ teaching efficacy. The STEBI-B was originally developed by Enochs and Riggs to measure elementary Science teaching efficacy. The STEBI-B has been validated and found to be a reliable instrument for measuring Science teaching efficacy. Since its development, modified versions have been widely used to measure the Science teaching efficacy of various teacher groups. A modified version of the STEBI-B was used in this study. STEBI-B pre and post-study results (25-item survey) were obtained for 23 GK-12 Fellows (13 in 2007-8 and 10 in 2008-9). Pre and post focus group data were also analyzed using qualitative data analysis techniques. The STEBI-B contains two subscales. Personal Science Teaching Efficacy (PSTE) which captures the construct of self-efficacy and Science Teaching Outcome Expectancy (STOE) which measures outcome expectancy regarding Science teaching and learning. A dependent t-test, using an alpha of .05, was computed for the two subscales to determine if there was a significant difference between the mean scores for the pre and post-study surveys.

Key findings include pre to post change on the PSTE subscale, indicating significant change in GK-12 Fellows’ science teaching efficacy. At the same time pre to post change on the STOE subscale was found to be insignificant. Discussion in the paper focuses on how the overall improvement in the Fellows’ self-efficacy indicates that the teaching experience in the middle schools positively impacted this change. The authors also discuss the lack of significant change found in the Fellows’ STOE scores which suggests the Fellows’ teaching experience may have negatively impacted, to a small extent, their attitude regarding teaching outcomes.

Thompson, S., & Watson, J., & Lyons, J. (2010, June), Measuring Change In Engineering And Science Graduate Students’ Teaching Efficacy As A Result Of Participation In A Gk 12 Project Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16483

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