Date of Award

6-8-2010

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ded)

Department

Professional Studies in Education

First Advisor

Laurie Nicholson, D.Ed.

Second Advisor

Sue Rieg, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

James D. Hooks, Ph.D.

Abstract

This descriptive study explores three aspects of teacher behavior related to student participation in science fair competitions: teacher attitudes, teacher preference for different student-learning modes, and teacher motives for required student participation. Teacher motives for required student participation may stem from curriculum and standardized test requirements, school administrators‟ expectations, teacher preference for a competitive student-learning mode, and teacher attitudes towards science fair competitions. Survey data collected for this study included teacher attitudes about science fair competitions, teacher preference for different student-learning modes, and demographic data about middle school teachers who sponsor students in PJAS science fair competitions. The theoretical framework in this study is the theory of planned behavior proposed by Ajzen. The results from the analysis of data in this study showed that the majority of the teachers in this sample held positive attitudes towards science fair competitions and required their students to conduct science fair projects but did not require their students to participate in science fair competitions. The middle school science teachers in the sample would involve their students in PJAS competitions even if their districts did not require them to participate. The teachers in this study preferred the cooperative and individualistic student-learning modes. Teacher gender did not influence a preference for a particular student-learning mode. Using the theoretical framework from this study revealed teachers who required their students to participate in science fair competitions also required their students to conduct science fair projects.

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