Date of Award:

2016

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Family, Consumer, and Human Development

Advisor/Chair:

Rebecca G. Lawver

Abstract

Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education concepts are naturally contextualized in the study of food and nutrition. In 2014 a pilot group of Utah high school Career and Technical Education Family and Consumer Sciences teachers rewrote the Food and Nutrition Sciences curriculum to add and enhance the STEM-related content. This study is an online needs assessment by Utah Food and Nutrition 1 teachers on the implementation of the STEM-enhanced curriculum after its first year of use in 2015-2016. A Borich needs assessment model was used to create mean weighted discrepancy scores between teacher-perceived levels of importance and teacher-perceived competence for each objective in the new curriculum in order to prioritize professional development needs felt by the teachers. The survey also gathered data on educational backgrounds, teaching experience, demographics, and recommendations from the teachers about barriers and aids to implementation. While it was found that teachers felt moderately competent to teach the new curriculum, the most needed areas of professional development were in the objectives with the highest concentration of STEM-related concepts. In order bring teacher feelings of competence up to the levels of teacher perceptions of the importance of these STEM-related objectives, teachers need to deepen their own knowledge of STEM education concepts through substantive, on-going professional development. Focused webinars and facilitated online collaborations for the teachers would call attention to new and previously missed resources and help the teachers apply them in the classroom.

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