Profiles of middle school science teachers: Accounting for cognitive and motivational characteristics

Abstract

Teachers play a critical role in successfully implementing science education reforms in the United States to provide high-quality science learning opportunities to all stu- dents. However, the differentiated ways in which teachers make decisions about their science teaching are not well understood. This study takes a person-centered approach by applying latent profile analysis to examine how cognitive (pedagogical content knowledge) and motivational (instructional goal orientations, self-efficacy beliefs, and reform values) characteristics combine to form science teacher profiles in middle school. Predictors of profile membership (bachelor's degree, school %FRL) and both teacher (science instructional practices) and student (science achievement, engagement, and self-effi- cacy) outcomes related to the teacher profiles were also examined. Five science teacher profiles were identified (severely discouraged but reform oriented, discouraged but reform oriented, conventional, confident and mastery oriented, and confident with multiple goal approaches) that represented unique configurations of cognitive and motivation characteristics. Additionally, findings showed that the teacher profiles were signifi- cantly related to three dimensions of science instruc- tional practice including communication, discourse, and reasoning. Finally, the teacher profiles were significantly related to student science achievement and motivational outcomes. Implications for differentiated approaches to teacher professional learning and supports for science instruction are discussed.

Publication
Journal of Research on Science Teaching, (74)

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