The Influence of Teachers' Knowledge on Student Learning in Middle School Physical Science Classrooms


The Influence of Teachers' Knowledge on Student Learning in Middle School Physical Science Classrooms

Issue/Topic: Curriculum--Science; Teaching Quality--Preparation
Author(s): Cook-Smith, Nancy; Coyle, Harold; Miller, Jaimie; Sadler, Philip; Sonnert, Gerhard
Organization(s): Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
Publication: American Educational Research Journal
Published On: 1/1/2013

Background:
There is little agreement on exactly what kinds of knowledge are most important for teachers to possess--deep knowledge of the subject matter, or an understanding of what students think. Is there an optimal combination of different types of knowledge?

Purpose:
To test two hypotheses: whether teachers’ knowledge of a science concept predicts student gains on that concept; and whether teachers’ knowledge of common student misperceptions to a concept they are teaching also predicts student gains on that concept.

Findings/Results:

Policy Implications/Recommendations:

Research Design:
Identical assessment instruments based on the National Science Education Standards with 20 items in common were administered several times during the school year to students and their teachers.

Population/Participants/Subjects:
181 middle school science teachers and their 9,556 students

Year data is from:
Study was run during the 2006-2007 school year with test items that were field tested in 2003.

Setting:
National

Data Collection and Analysis:
Administered formative assessments to students and their teachers several times during the school year. Student assessments gauged their misconceptions about physical science. Teachers were assessed for subject matter knowledge.

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