Publication Date




Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Teaching and Learning (Education)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Okhee Lee

Second Committee Member

Jennifer M. Langer-Osuna

Third Committee Member

Ji Shen

Fourth Committee Member

David L. Wilson

Fifth Committee Member

Jaime Maerten-Rivera


Teacher science content knowledge (SCK) is an important but rarely studied construct. The study examined two research questions using two measures of SCK (i.e., knowledge test and questionnaire) in order to explore changes in SCK over time and to evaluate the effectiveness of the intervention at improving SCK as compared to the control group of teachers who did not receive the intervention: (1) Did participation in two years of the study have additional benefits over one year of participation? and (2) Did teacher background variables and treatment group (treatment vs. control) predict teacher SCK at the start of the intervention (i.e., initial status) or over the course of the intervention (i.e., change)? The teacher knowledge test was comprised of 33 multiple choice questions and 5 short response questions, all written at approximately the fifth grade level. The Science Knowledge Scale portion of the questionnaire determined how teachers felt about their knowledge of nature of science, physical science, life science, and earth/space science. Longitudinal multilevel modeling was used to examine the change in teacher SCK over two years. Additionally, an intervention including a fifth grade science curriculum and professional development was studied to determine its effect on teacher SCK as measured by a science knowledge test and a questionnaire during the same two-year period. Each year of participation in the study significantly increased test scores, while only the first year significantly increased self-reported science knowledge. The number of science courses taken in college was a significant predictor of self-reported science knowledge. The intervention had a significant effect on the treatment group teachers’ questionnaire responses and the change in those responses over time compared to the control group. The implications of these findings for research and practice are discussed.


science content knowledge; teacher knowledge; test; self-report; professional development; change over time