By Cassandra McCallum

The School of Education invites you to attend a doctoral dissertation defense by Kerien Driscoll on “Elementary Teachers’ Understanding of and Involvement in Systemic Science Achievement."

Date: March 28, 2023
Time: 2:30 p.m.
Location: This will be a virtual dissertation defense via Zoom. Those interested in attending should contact michelle_scribner@uml.edu to request access to the Zoom link.

Dissertation Chair: Michelle Scribner Ed.D., Clinical Professor STEM Education, School of Education, University of Massachusetts Lowell

Dissertation Committee:

  • Anita Greenwood, Ed.D., Dean Emerita, School of Education, University of Massachusetts Lowell
  • Kathleen McLaughlin, Ed.D., Scholar in Practice, School of Education, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Principal, Lowell Public Schools

Science education in the United States is in need of an overhaul; as of 2018, the United States ranked 18th in science among industrialized nations according to the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA). Additionally, the efforts that the nation has made to increase student achievement in math and English language arts (ELA) has negatively affected achievement and learning in science, specifically in marginalized communities. Many elementary schools have cut time on science to increase time on math and ELA, believing this will increase achievement. However, this practice of narrowing the curriculum will result in lost foundational years for students to develop science habits of mind and essential content knowledge. In addition to a lack of science instruction, many teachers are still relying on teacher directed instruction, rather than utilizing student-centered, inquiry-based approaches. Although more comprehensive science standards have been developed to promote student-centered instructional approaches, adequate professional development to support teachers in enacting these changes has not been provided equitably. This study examined a large, urban district’s elementary science practices, and sought to discover teacher perceptions of current elementary science practices and actions for improvement. Its goal was to include teachers in the conversation about the type of support and resources they need to increase time on learning in science at the elementary level to provide elementary science learning opportunities for students equitable to those of their suburban counterparts.