Beliefs and Reported Science Teaching Practices of Elementary and Middle School Teacher Education Majors from A Historically Black College/University and a Predominately White College/University

Gili Marbach-Ad, J. Randy McGinnis, Scott Jackson Dantley, Ph.D.


Project Nexus, an undergraduate science teacher preparation program, was designed to
develop and test a science teacher professional development model that prepares,
supports, and sustains upper elementary and middle level specialist science teachers. Of
particular interest was the recruitment of a diverse teaching force, particularly African
American. We implemented our model at two types of universities: a Historically Black
College/University [HBCU], and a Predominately White University/College [PWUC]. Of
focus in this year 1 study of the program was the need to collect and analyzing baseline
data of all the previous year’s graduates of the two institution’s undergraduate
elementary/middle school teacher preparation programs. Determining the baseline data
would provide an essential measure from which to compare impact of the program after
five years of implementation. We administered an established instrument, “New
Teachers’ Beliefs and Practices of Science.” We compared our sample’s responses
(closed and open-items) by institution and with a sample of national teachers’ responses.
Findings indicated that along all statements the 2005 graduates reported that they are
more likely to use practices, which are recommended by national latest reform documents
(AAAS, 1993, National Academies, 2006, NRC, 1996) than the national teachers’ group,
with higher percentages in the PWUC than in the HBCU. Interesting, however, on the
open-ended item we found that more HBCU graduates thought it was very important to
be taught in a culturally responsive manner than did the PWUC graduates. Implications
for teacher preparation were discussed.


Beliefs;Science;Education;Elementary;Middle School;Black;White;Colleges;Education Majors

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