New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 12

Accepted Abstracts

Enhancing Elementary Teachers’ STEM Self-Efficacy and Teaching Practice through a NGSS-Focused Professional Development Program

Emily Kang, Adelphi University (United States)

Mary Jean McCarthy, Adelphi University (United States)

Corinne Donovan, Adelphi University (United States)


With the recent release of the Next Generation Science Standards, there has been a pressing need for school districts to provide sustained science professional development for teachers, particularly elementary school teachers.  This paper reports findings from a two-year investigation on the effects of a PD program on helping 2nd grade teachers within one high needs suburban school district transform their teaching practice.  The aims of this study were two-fold: 1) to assess teachers’ knowledge of and ability to enact the Next Generation Science Standards Science and Engineering Practices and 2) to explore the changes in self-efficacy of teaching the NGSS Practices. Particular emphasis was placed on PD around the Science and Engineering Practices of the NGSS as this was cited by teachers as the weakest area in their confidence.  This study utilizes the constructs of effective PD design as a teacher learning tool and the role of teacher self-efficacy in influencing teaching practice to help examine our research questions.  Findings indicated that teachers showed statistically significant gains in STEM self-efficacy as a result of participating in the professional development program.  Teachers also engaged in NGSS practices at a deeper level as well as focused more on student-centered learning during their STEM classroom instruction.

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