Empowering elementary teachers in Texas to prepare their students for the science section of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) 2003
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The need for an effective means of enhancing the science comprehension of elementary teachers brought about changes in the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) exit exam for 5th grade students. The overall goal of this project was to evaluate the effectiveness of an alternative method of science instruction to train pre-service teachers. Web-based instructional designs are emerging as an alternative medium for disseminating course content in continuing education. A need exists to reach a point where web-based materials can be evaluated in terms of achieving desired teaching and learning outcomes, e.g., course grade, professional development certification, skills development and application of course content. The course offered to pre-service teachers provided the opportunity to build their confidence in teaching science and knowledge of subject matter using a combination of traditional and web-based instructional components. The entire course including lessons, exams, and ancillary materials were included in a WebCt distance education platform at Texas A&M University, for pre-service teachers to access online. During the course of the semester students took six exams which determined their overall grade in the course. Study objectives were measured using students enrolled in WFSC 420 Ecology for Teachers during the Fall 2002 and Spring 2003 semesters. The four required assessments were administered before the first exam and after the fifth exam. Analysis of pre- vs. post-course assessments was conducted using paired t-test analysis of mean scores on two assessments including the Science Teaching Efficacy Beliefs Instrument and traditional versus web-based instruction. Student scores on the TAKS test were compared using raw average scores pre- and post-course. Additionally, each student's final course grade was correlated to the final TAKS score to determine the level of score consistency. WFSC 420 Ecology for Teachers prepared pre-service teacher trainees to teach elementary science in two ways. First it provided the relevant science content necessary for teachers to adequately prepare their students for the TAKS exam. Secondly, it has been shown to improve students' confidence in their ability to teach science. Both of these provide a firm foundation to properly educate elementary science teachers for the future.
Blackmon, Scott Alexander (2003). Empowering elementary teachers in Texas to prepare their students for the science section of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) 2003. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from