Research in Science Education

, Volume 41, Issue 2, pp 245–260 | Cite as

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

  • Soonhye ParkEmail author
  • Jeong-Yoon Jang
  • Ying-Chih Chen
  • Jinhong Jung


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 education Pedagogical content knowledge Knowledge of student understanding Knowledge of instructional strategies and representations 



This research was funded by the Iowa Measurement Research Fund at the University of Iowa. However, the contents of this paper are purely those of the authors, and do not reflect the views of the funder.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Soonhye Park
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jeong-Yoon Jang
    • 1
  • Ying-Chih Chen
    • 1
  • Jinhong Jung
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Teaching & LearningUniversity of IowaIowa CityUSA
  2. 2.Department of Kinesiology & Physical EducationNorthern Illinois UniversityDeKalbUSA

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