ASSESSING GAINS IN SCIENCE TEACHING SELF-EFFICACY AND GEOSCIENCE CONTENT FOR PRE-SERVICE ELEMENTARY EDUCATION MAJORS TAKING AN INQUIRY-BASED EARTH SCIENCE COURSE
Results from the STEBI-B indicate that students improved their PSTE by a significant 6.9% but did not significantly improve their STOE (post-pre gain = 0.1%). Analysis of open-ended reflection papers and free-response exam questions indicates that the students left the course with an improved belief they could teach earth science concepts. The lack of improvement in student STOE is consistent with the objectives of the course because STOE is thought to develop as students complete their science methods courses and gain valuable experience in the K-12 classroom during student teaching.
Results from the GCI show that the students improved their GCI scores by 2.8% which translates to one additional correct answer for every two students. These results are consistent with findings from other institutions and may reflect more upon the difficulty of the instrument than minimal content learning gains by the students. Given the increasing demand for geoscience content courses for pre-service elementary education majors (and the common practice by state standards of bundling topics from astronomy and meteorology with content in geology), perhaps a more targeted assessment of learning is needed for this critical group. More research is needed on this type of course to identify effective ways to serve this crucial student population.