Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education


Date of this Version



Lewis, E.B., Rivero, A., Lucas, L., Musson, A., and Tankersley, A. (2018). Beginning Science Teachers' Subject Matter Knowledge, Misconceptions, and Emerging Inquiry-based Teaching Practices. Poster presented at the NSF Robert Noyce Program Annual Conference: July 16, 2018: Washington, DC.


Associated publications include:

Lewis, E.B., Rivero, A., Musson, A., Lucas, L. & Tankersley, A. (in press). Educating Effective Science Teachers: Preparing and Following Teachers into the Field. In J. Carinci, S. Meyer, and C. Jackson (Eds.), Linking Teacher Preparation Program Design and Implementation to Outcomes for Teachers and Students.

Lewis, E. B., *Rivero, A., *Lucas, L, *Musson, A., & Helding, B. (under review: 8/17/18). Beginning science teachers’ physical science subject matter knowledge, misconceptions, and likelihood of inquiry-based teaching.


When we investigated the relationship of science subject matter knowledge with subsequent inquiry-based instruction, we found on average that over the induction period the MAT teachers taught lessons using more inquiry-based instruction at twice the rate of the average teacher prepared in the undergraduate program without an undergraduate degree in science. Specifically, new science teachers from the MAT program with an undergraduate degree in chemistry were better prepared to use an inquiry-based approach to teaching chemistry. Our research of our two teacher preparation programs contribute a reliable design for producing highly-qualified teachers who can provide active, engaging, constructivist learning opportunities for diverse students while addressing rigorous national science education standards.

Our work has provided evidence that factors such as science content area credit hours, science GPA, and test scores are indicative of teachers’ content knowledge and possible misconceptions. Policy makers can look at these and other findings to refine state guidelines for teacher certification to ensure that teachers are strongly prepared. State departments of education that set teacher certification policy should consider making a careful distinction among specific science disciplines, as all sciences are not the same in their learning progressions, degree of linear accumulation of knowledge, and diversity of topics. The project has informed other teacher preparation designs and the findings have been presented at various stages at NARST and ASTE conferences along with a new book chapter in press (2018).