Comprehensive School Reform and Elementary Science Education: A Study of Science Education in the Context of Three School Reform Models Open Access

Gale, Jessica D. (2012)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/7p88ch376?locale=en
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Abstract


Abstract
Comprehensive School Reform and Elementary Science Education:
A Study of Science Education in the Context of Three School Reform Models
In spite of decades of reform, science education continues to receive minimal
attention in urban elementary schools. Although the marginalization of science at the
elementary level likely results from a complex set of interrelated factors, recent
scholarship suggests that tensions may exist between science education reform and the
reform agendas that predominate in urban school districts (Apple, 2006; Hatch, 2002;
Pringle & Carrier Martin, 2005; Tate, 2001). Drawing on a conceptual framework that
describes the forces and conditions that shape science teaching and learning in urban
schools (Knapp and Plecki, 2001), this study examined the relationship between
comprehensive school reform and elementary science education in one urban school
district. Utilizing survey data, focus groups, interviews, document analysis, and
classroom observations, this study examined elementary science education within the
context of three comprehensive school reform models: Core Knowledge, Direct
Instruction, International Baccalaureate. Specifically, patterns and differences in
elementary teachers' personal agency beliefs (Ford, 1992), science teaching practices,
and the allocation of time for science education within and across reform models were
explored. Consistent with pilot study data, across reform models, teachers tended to
express positive capability beliefs; however, teachers in Direct Instruction schools were
more likely than teachers in the Core Knowledge and International Baccalaureate reform
models to evince negative beliefs about their science teaching context. Substantive
differences in science teaching practices and the allocation of time for science were also
observed and reported by teachers across the three reform models. Implications for theory,
research, and practice are discussed.

Table of Contents


Table of Contents

CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION ...................................................................................... 1
Statement of the Problem ............................................................................................................ 1
Purpose of the Study .................................................................................................................... 5
Research Questions ...................................................................................................................... 5
Frameworks ................................................................................................................................. 6
Knapp and Plecki's Framework for the Renewal of Urban Science Teaching ....................... 6
Ford's Motivational Systems Theory ...................................................................................... 9
Significance of the Study ........................................................................................................... 11
Definition of Terms ................................................................................................................... 12
CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW ......................................................................... 16
Search Methodology .................................................................................................................. 16
Education Policy and Elementary Science Education Reform .................................................. 17
Interdependent School, District, and State Policies. ............................................................. 17
Resource Allocation .............................................................................................................. 24
Professional, Organizational, and Community Context ........................................................ 26
Comprehensive School Reform ................................................................................................. 28
What is Comprehensive School Reform? ............................................................................. 28
Core Knowledge .................................................................................................................... 30
Direct Instruction ................................................................................................................... 35
International Baccalaureate ................................................................................................... 38
The Nature of Teachers' Beliefs ................................................................................................ 43
Personal Agency Beliefs ............................................................................................................ 45
CHAPTER 3: METHODOLOGY ................................................................................... 54
Study Design .............................................................................................................................. 54
Pilot Study ................................................................................................................................. 54
Participants ................................................................................................................................ 55
Setting ........................................................................................................................................ 58
District Context ..................................................................................................................... 58
Data Sources .............................................................................................................................. 61
Data Analysis ............................................................................................................................. 66
Validity and Reliability ............................................................................................................. 67
Reliability .................................................................................................................................. 71
CHAPTER 4: RESULTS ................................................................................................. 73
Research Question 1: Science Teaching Practices .................................................................... 73
Teaching practices in Direct Instruction schools .................................................................. 74
Teaching Practices in Core Knowledge Schools ................................................................... 83
Teaching Practices in International Baccalaureate Schools .................................................. 93
Science Teaching Practices Across Reform Models ........................................................... 103
Research Question 2: Allocation of Time for Science Education ........................................... 106
Time Allocation and Direct Instruction .............................................................................. 106
Time Allocation and Core Knowledge ................................................................................ 114
Time Allocation in International Baccalaureate Schools .................................................... 119
The Allocation of Time for Science Across Reform Models. ............................................. 129
Research Question 3: Personal Agency Beliefs ...................................................................... 132
Personal Agency Beliefs in Direct Instruction Schools ...................................................... 135
Personal Agency Beliefs in Core Knowledge Schools ....................................................... 154
Personal Agency Beliefs in International Baccalaureate Schools ....................................... 175


Personal Agency Beliefs Across Reform Models ............................................................... 198
CHAPTER 5: DISCUSSION ......................................................................................... 203
Research Question #1: Science Teaching Practices ................................................................ 204
Research Question #2: The Allocation of Time for Science ................................................... 207
Research Question #3: Personal Agency Beliefs .................................................................... 212
Comprehensive School Reform and the Teaching Policy Environment ................................. 213
Coherence ............................................................................................................................ 214
Comprehensiveness ............................................................................................................. 216
Intrusiveness ........................................................................................................................ 217
Stability ............................................................................................................................... 218
Limitations ............................................................................................................................... 220
Implications for Research, Policy, and Practice ...................................................................... 221
References ...................................................................................................................... 226
Appendix A: The International Baccalaureate Learner Profile ...................................... 248
Appendix B: Focus Group Protocol ............................................................................... 249
Appendix C: Contact Summary Form ............................................................................ 250
Appendix D: Consent Form ........................................................................................... 251
Appendix E: Interview Protocol ..................................................................................... 253
Appendix F: Reformed Teaching Observation Protocol - Sample Items ...................... 254


Tables and Figures
Table 1: Focus Group Participant Demographics ........................................................... 236
Table 2: Interview Participant Demographics ................................................................ 237
Table 3: Survey Participant Demographics .................................................................... 238
Table 4: Summary of Research Questions, Data Sources, and Methodology ................ 239
Table 5: Reformed teaching observation protocol (RTOP) scores by reform model ..... 240
Table 6: Reported Science Teaching Practices .............................................................. 241
Table 7: Reported Science Teaching Practices - International Baccalaureate Schools . 242
Table 8: Allocation of Time Across Reform Models ..................................................... 243
Table 9: Descriptions of Ford's Ten Personal Agency Belief Patterns .......................... 244
Table 10: Self-Efficacy and Context Belief Statements Across Reform Models .......... 245
Table 11: Personal Agency Belief (PAB) Patterns Across Reform Models ................... 246
Figure 1: Personal Agency Belief Patterns ..................................................................... 247


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