Effects of a Multiyear Curricular and Professional Development Intervention on Elementary Teachers’ Science Content Knowledge
This study examined the effectiveness of a fifth grade science curriculum and professional development intervention at increasing teachers’ science content knowledge (SCK) over the period of 3 years. The intervention included an inquiry-based science curriculum and ongoing professional development opportunities concentrating on both science content and pedagogy. SCK was measured using a science knowledge test written at the fifth grade content level and a questionnaire scale asking teachers how knowledgeable they felt teaching science at the fifth grade level. Longitudinal multilevel modeling was used to examine change in the treatment group and the control group. The treatment group demonstrated an increase in both measures of SCK after the first year, with continued improvement in self-report throughout the 3-year period. The control group demonstrated smaller consistent growth in test scores, reaching a level comparable to the treatment group at the end of 3 years, but there was no significant change in self-report over the 3-year period. These results led to the conclusion that the intervention increased the rate at which teachers learned science content, as well as increasing their confidence in their SCK.