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Science education at Riverside Middle School: a case study

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ABSTRACT For more than thirty years the gender gap in science and related careers has been a key concern of researchers, teachers, professional organizations, and policy makers. Despite indicators of

ABSTRACT For more than thirty years the gender gap in science and related careers has been a key concern of researchers, teachers, professional organizations, and policy makers. Despite indicators of progress for women and girls on some measures of achievement, course enrollment patterns, and employment, fewer women than men pursue college degrees and careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. According to the results of national assessments, the gender gap in science achievement begins to be evident in the middle school years. Gender and school science achievement involve a complex set of factors associated with schools and child/family systems that may include school leadership, institutional practices, curriculum content, teacher training programs, teacher expectations, student interests, parental involvement, and cultural values. This ethnographic case study was designed to explore the context for science education reform and the participation of middle school girls. The study analyzed and compared teaching strategies and female student engagement in sixth, seventh, and eighth grade science classrooms. The setting was a middle school situated in a district that was well-known for its achievement in reading, math, and technology. Findings from the study indicated that while classroom instruction was predominantly organized around traditional school science, the girls were more disciplined and outperformed the boys. The size of the classrooms, time to prepare for hands-on activities, and obtaining resources were identified as barriers to teaching science in ways that aligned with recent national science reform initiatives. Parents who participated in the study were very supportive of their daughters' academic progress and career goals. A few of the parents suggested that the school's science program include more hands-on activities; instruction designed for the advanced learner; and information related to future careers. Overall the teachers and students perceived their science program to be gender fair. Eighth grade participants who had career goals related to science and engineering, indicated that their science instruction did not provide the rigor they needed to improve their critical skills for advanced placement in high school. Recommendations include the need for professional development on inquiry-based science, equitable student achievement, and diverse perspectives in science education.

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Date Created
  • 2011

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Factors affecting teacher satisfaction in an urban school district

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The purpose of this study was to distinguish factors that influence the satisfaction levels of teachers in urban school districts. This work also distinguished factors that directly impacted teachers' level

The purpose of this study was to distinguish factors that influence the satisfaction levels of teachers in urban school districts. This work also distinguished factors that directly impacted teachers' level of satisfaction towards their work and their attitude towards the administration of their schools. Forty-one teachers from two kindergarten through eighth grade schools in the southwest region of the United States were given a modified version of the 2007/08 Schools and Staffing Survey, a federally recognized survey on the satisfaction levels of teachers in America, combined with a select number of questions created by the researcher in this study to address the research questions of this study. Data were collected and analyzed through Survey Monkey, an online data portal, and imported into SPSS for data analysis. Both descriptive and inferential statistics were compiled to provide answers to the research questions established for this study. Results from this study indicated that although a majority of teachers sampled were satisfied with their teaching positions (78%), kindergarten through fourth grade teachers were more satisfied than teachers in the older grades. For the whole group, salary was the most influential factor; however, the teachers with 11 to 15 years of experience were the only ones who chose salary as their primary choice to increase their satisfaction. This study found that the levels of satisfaction per subgroup (teachers' years of experience, level of education, gender, age, type of certification, and grade level) were different than the group needs as a whole. This study revealed that the needs of the whole group and the needs of the subgroups can differ, consequently individual differences of the staff need to be taken into consideration. To view the staff as a whole may discredit the needs of the individual. Even though data indicated that a significant number of teachers felt supported by their administration, this study revealed the need for administrative staff to address specific issues of subgroups in their schools.

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Date Created
  • 2011

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Effects of reduction in force on administrator job satisfaction

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The purpose of this study is to determine job satisfaction among school administrators who were involved in the teacher RIF (reduction in force) process in the spring of 2009. The

The purpose of this study is to determine job satisfaction among school administrators who were involved in the teacher RIF (reduction in force) process in the spring of 2009. The study attempts to ascertain the effects of RIF on administrator job satisfaction in one, large, urban school district in Arizona and what impact, if any, the RIF process may have on the district and its personnel in the future. This study will question to what extent administrators within sample district are satisfied with their jobs, to what extent demographic information such as years of experience, age, gender, district position, and school level correlate with job satisfaction of administrators, in what ways has administrative job satisfaction been affected by the RIF process, what aspects of the RIF processes correlate with administrative job satisfaction, and what suggestions, if any, do administrators have regarding future RIF notifications during that time. This study will also recommend methods of notification delivery, advocate for administrator job satisfaction, and report any correlations within our findings to the sample district for review and consideration for the future. This study found that most administrators are very satisfied with their jobs, but the RIF process was somewhat influential in affecting their job satisfaction. Additionally, it seems that the higher the job position, the higher the job satisfaction. Advanced age, higher educational accomplishment, and longevity in one`s current position also correlated with high job satisfaction.

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Date Created
  • 2011