A Review and Analysis of the NSF Portfolio in Regard to Research on Science Teacher Education

  • Robert D. Sherwood
  • Deborah L. Hanson
Keywords: Review, Analysis, NSF, Research, Science Teacher, Education


Several recent policy papers have called for science education to be based on substantive research activities that provide guidance for the field both in teacher preparation and student learning. For example, America’s Pressing Challenge – Building a Strong Foundation (2006) calls for the country to “Invest in research on teaching and learning that will better inform development of science and mathematics curricula and pedagogical approaches.” (p.5). In an attempt to understand what the National Science Foundation has supported in terms of research within science education teacher education a review was undertaken based upon the publicly available NSF Awards Database in regard to projects funded. The database for selected programs at NSF contained over 3000 awards for the time period January 1, 1996 to January 1, 2006 however the percentage of awards that were deemed to represent research studies in regard to science teacher education were a very small fraction of these awards (approximately 2.5%). The awards that were identified were categorized by research method, grade level and project focus. Selected awards were also reviewed to see if the results of the studies could be found in the science education literature. Implications for policy and the research community are discussed.

Author Biographies

Robert D. Sherwood
Indiana University
Deborah L. Hanson
Hanover College