2005 Salt Lake City Annual Meeting (October 16–19, 2005)

Paper No. 5
Presentation Time: 2:30 PM


COOPER, Barbara C., Earth & Atmospheric Sciences and Physics, Purdue University, 511 Kerber Road, West Lafayette, IN 49096, bccooper@purdue.edu

Many of the National Science Education Standards for K- 6 classes are on Earth/Space Science topics. There is a push for elementary education students to be better prepared to teach science in an elementary classroom, prompting elementary education majors to enroll in introductory Earth science classes. At Purdue University in addition to courses in chemistry, biology, and physics, two Earth science classes (for a total of 5 credit hours) are required for all elementary education majors. For the past two years the elementary education majors finishing their final science class have been administered an exit survey including the Science Teaching Efficacy Belief Instrument (STEBI-B test). STEBI evaluates two things: their belief about how well they will teach science (their efficacy) and their belief about how well their students will learn science (the outcome of their teaching). Results from STEBI-B show that pre-service elementary teachers have a negative opinion about their ability to teach science effectively and a negative opinion about their future students' abilities to learn science even at the end of their college course work. In fact, a comparison with sophomores who took the STEBI early in their college program indicated that the students' efficacy belief actually went down (significantly) during their tenure in college. These STEBI results are disturbing and indicate that pre-service teachers attitudes about science are an issue that needs to be addressed if our next generation are going to have a chance to learn and enjoy science.