Date of Award

Summer 1999

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Curriculum, Instruction, and Leadership

First Advisor

Jo Ann Dauzat


The purpose of this study was two-fold: (1) to determine whether or not there were significant differences in implementation levels of reform-based science instructional strategies by teachers who participated in an established staff development program, Project LIFE and those who did not, and (2) to distinguish specific program factors that may have impacted the level of implementation of reform-based instructional classroom practices. The instrument used, the Survey of Reform-Based Science Teaching Strategies (SRBSTS ), was developed by the researcher and had reliability of .912 as measured by Cronbach Alpha.

An independent samples t-test analysis was used to compare the implementation levels of a random sample (n = 40) of Project LIFE teachers and a control group of non-Project LIFE teachers (n = 34). The random sample (n = 40) was drawn from the experimental group (n = 148) which included former teacher participants (from seven different summer programs and follow-up years, 1992–1998) who responded to the mail-in survey. All respondents reported on Likert-type scale inventories about their estimated percentage of time spent on reform and non-reform-based science instructional practices.

Additionally the experimental group responded to 40 Likert-type scale items about their perceptions of five staff development program components. A stepwise multiple regression analysis between the dependent variable, levels of implementation, and the independent variables, five program components, determined that positive levels of implementation could be predicted ( p = .05) by only one program component, the participant's favorable perception of the program's core values (i.e. belief that reform methodologies offer the best way to help students learn science). Perceptions about the initial training experience, program follow-up, program support, and school/district support showed no significant correlation.

The study concluded that the Project LIFE teachers showed significantly higher positive levels of reform-based instructional practices, and that their positive perceptions about the value of the staff development program objectives is the single-most important factor influencing post-training practices. These findings are important in enhancing national science reform goals because they contribute to an understanding of which factors in staff development programs for practicing teachers most contribute to transfer of training.