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Thesis/Dissertation Seminars

Dissertation Defense: The Impact Of Ongoing Science Professional Development On Standardized Assessment Of Student Achievement

ED 306
April 24, 2017 @ 03:00 PM - 04:00 PM

Announcing the final examination of Leah Torres for the degree of Doctor of Education

The goal of this research was to examine the impact of ongoing science professional development opportunities on middle school science standardized test scores. The middle school science teachers in a Central Florida school district had an opportunity to attend one, two or three professional development opportunities during the 2015-16 school year. The students' scores who were enrolled in a teachers' class who attended a professional development opportunity were compared to students who were enrolled in teachers' courses who did not participate in professional development opportunities. The data gathered included grade levels, assessment scores, and demographic information. The assessments used as instrumentation were the State Science Assessment (SSA), the end of year exam for Earth/Space Science, and the end of year exam for Life Science.

The literature review and results of the study indicated there are many barriers to implementation to professional development, and that it is difficult to measure the implementation of professional development using standardized assessment scores. The data gathered were used to calculate the mean student scores for each grade level of the teachers who participated in the professional development, and the teachers who did not. The students were matched using propensity score matching to reduce variability in the groups. An independent sample t-test was performed to indicate if the mean scores were different with significance. The results indicated that overall, there was not a difference in mean scores of the three different assessments of teachers who attended one, two, or three professional development opportunities.

Suggestions for future studies are to see if the teachers' student assessment scores improved from prior year data, and using a different measure to indicate changes in the teacher classroom after attending the professional development opportunities.

Committee in charge: Kenneth T. Murray, Walter Doherty, Robert Everett, Valerie Storey


The University of Central Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award degrees at the associate, baccalaureate, master’s, specialist, and doctoral levels. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call (404) 679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of the University of Central Florida.

Please note the commission's expectation that contact occur only if there is evidence to support significant non-compliance with a requirement or standard. For other information about UCF’s SACSCOC accreditation, please contact the university's SACSCOC liaison in UCF's Office of Academic Affairs.

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