Research in Science Education

, Volume 41, Issue 2, pp 245–260

Is Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK) Necessary for Reformed Science Teaching?: Evidence from an Empirical Study


    • Department of Teaching & LearningUniversity of Iowa
  • Jeong-Yoon Jang
    • Department of Teaching & LearningUniversity of Iowa
  • Ying-Chih Chen
    • Department of Teaching & LearningUniversity of Iowa
  • Jinhong Jung
    • Department of Kinesiology & Physical EducationNorthern Illinois University

DOI: 10.1007/s11165-009-9163-8

Cite this article as:
Park, S., Jang, J., Chen, Y. et al. Res Sci Educ (2011) 41: 245. doi:10.1007/s11165-009-9163-8


This study tested a hypothesis that focused on whether or not teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) is a necessary body of knowledge for reformed science teaching. This study utilized a quantitative research method to investigate the correlation between a teacher’s PCK level as measured by the PCK rubric (Park et al. 2008) and the degree to which his/her classroom is reform-oriented as measured by RTOP (Sawada et al. 2002). Data included 33 instructional sessions of photosynthesis and heredity videotaped with 7 high school biology teachers. Each session was given a score on both the PCK rubric and RTOP by two independent raters. Results indicate that PCK score is significantly related to RTOP score in terms of both total score (r = .831, p < .01) and sub-component scores (ranging from r = .616 to .805, p < .01). Implications for science teacher education and future research are discussed.


Reform-based science educationPedagogical content knowledgeKnowledge of student understandingKnowledge of instructional strategies and representations

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010