Journal of Science Teacher Education

, Volume 24, Issue 5, pp 879–905 | Cite as

Sustaining Reform-Based Science Teaching of Preservice and Inservice Elementary School Teachers

  • Barbara K. Sullivan-WattsEmail author
  • Barbara L. Nowicki
  • Minsuk K. Shim
  • Betty J. Young


This study examined the influence of a professional development program based around commercially available inquiry science curricula on the teaching practices of 27 beginning elementary school teachers and their teacher mentors over a 2 year period. A quantitative rubric used to score inquiry elements and use of data in videotaped lessons indicated that education students assigned to inquiry-based classrooms during their methods course or student teaching year outperformed students without this experience. There was also a significant positive effect of multi-year access to the kit-based program on mentor teaching practice. Recent inclusion of a “writing in science” program in both preservice and inservice training has been used to address the lesson element that received lowest scores—evaluation of data and its use in scientific explanation.


Science inquiry Elementary science education Science content knowledge Preservice students Inservice professional development 



This research was supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation (Grant No. ESI-0455685). The authors would like to acknowledge the generous assistance of Sally Beauman and Elaine Mangiante who assisted us with logistics of the data collection.


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Copyright information

© The Association for Science Teacher Education, USA 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barbara K. Sullivan-Watts
    • 1
    Email author
  • Barbara L. Nowicki
    • 2
  • Minsuk K. Shim
    • 2
  • Betty J. Young
    • 2
  1. 1.Graduate School of OceanographyUniversity of Rhode IslandNarragansettUSA
  2. 2.School of EducationUniversity of Rhode IslandKingstonUSA

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