UNL presents research on longitudinal study of beginning science teachers at NSF Noyce Conference

Dr. Elizabeth Lewis
Dr. Elizabeth Lewis

Dr. Beth Lewis, associate professor in the Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education at Nebraska, presented new findings at the NSF Noyce annual conference in Washington, DC, in July 2018 on the subject matter knowledge (SMK) and instructional practices of beginning science teachers. This work was supported by an NSF Robert Noyce Track I, Phase II grant. Key findings include that chemistry teachers need at least 30 credit hours at a 3.2 GPA in order to not hold common misconceptions similar to their students. Similarly, physics teachers need at least 30 credit hours of physics and mathematics coursework at a 3.0 GPA.

Another important significant relationship between SMK and standards-aligned teaching was identified in the study, which showed that strong SMK is a key contributor to more effective teaching by new science teachers. This work was co-authored with four past and present doctoral students in science education: Dr. Ana Rivero (now of Seattle University), Ms. Lyrica Lucas (UNL), Dr. Aaron Musson (now with Omaha Public Schools), and Ms. Amy Tankersley (UNL).

Lewis’ research group also has a book chapter in press on this work to be published later this year entitled “Educating Effective Science Teachers: Preparing and Following Teachers into the Field” (Lewis, E.B., Rivero, A., Musson, A., Lucas, L. & Tankersley, A. In J. Carinci, S. Meyer, and C. Jackson (Eds.), Linking Teacher Preparation Program Design and Implementation to Outcomes for Teachers and Students. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing).