Date of Award

2017

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Department

Instruction and Teacher Education

Sub-Department

College of Education

First Advisor

Susan Schramm-Pate

Abstract

This study uses the action research method to determine whether students enrolled in a basic science course (Physical Science College Prep) can be successful learning more advanced material (Physical Science Advanced) by increasing teacher efficacy. Currently, there are three levels of Physical Science courses taught at the study school, a high school in South Carolina, USA. The most basic course, Physical Science College Prep, is comprised of 76% minority students, and 56% who receive a free or reduced-cost lunch. In the spring semester of 2017, a group of students (n = 14) completed two units of study: Unit One - Experimental Design and Unit Two - Classification of Matter. The students experienced a variety of teaching methods and techniques, including problem-based learning, lectures, classroom discussions, and laboratory experiments. The results showed that the students were able to maintain a B-grade average. In fact, the overall average grades actually increased from 87.08 in Unit One to 87.67 in Unit Two. The results of this study accompany a recommendation for district and school administrators to de-track the Physical Science course. Instead of offering the more basic College Prep course, all students can be successful in the Advanced and Honors-level courses.

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