Measuring elementary educators' understanding and readiness for implementing a new framework in science education
Nollmeyer, Gustave Evan
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The NRC's (2012) report, A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas, ushered in a new era of science education. It is unclear how prepared elementary educators are for the framework. This study sought to establish measures for assessing inservice educators' self-reported understanding of the new framework and readiness to implement the ideas in their science instruction. Designing and validating an instrument to assess these constructs followed procedures established in the literature. First, literature on science education was examined to identify themes that could be used in constructing instrument items. This item pool was examined and modified through expert review. Next, the modified instrument was piloted with a small sample, N = 13, of inservice educators. After final adjustments to the instrument, it was used in a large scale validation study. Inservice elementary educators from four states, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, and Utah participated in the validation study, N= 167. Since understanding and readiness were determined to assess separate constructs, the two were handled individually during statistical analyses. Exploratory analysis on both scales, understanding and readiness, revealed stable factor models that were further validated through confirmatory factor analysis. The internal consistency reliability of the scales were determined through Cronbach's Alpha. With solid statistical evidence, conclusions were drawn from the study. Each instrument could be used in similar contexts to measure elementary educators' understanding of or readiness to implement the new framework for science education. The unique factor structures of the two scales suggests important differences between understanding and readiness. These differences should inform professional development efforts.