Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences

Committee Chair(s)

Mimi Recker


Mimi Recker


Andrew Walker


Anne Diekema


Victor Lee


Anne Hunt


This scale-up study investigated the impact of a teacher technology tool (Curriculum Customization Service, CCS), curriculum, and online resources on earth science teachers’ attitudes, beliefs, and practices and on students’ achievement and engagement with science learning. Participants included 73 teachers and over 2,000 ninth grade students within five public school districts in the western U.S.

To assess the impact on teachers, changes between pre- and postsurveys were examined. Results suggest that the CCS tool appeared to significantly increase both
teachers’ awareness of other earth science teachers’ practices and teachers’ frequency of using interactive resources in their lesson planning and classroom teaching. In addition to “District,” “Training condition” (whether or not teachers received CCS training) appeared to predict teachers’ attitudes, beliefs, and practices. Teachers who received the CCS training tended to have lower postsurveys score than their peers who had no CCS training. Overall, usage of the CCS tool tended to be low, and there were differences among school districts.

To assess the impact on students, changes were examined between pre- and postsurveys of (1) knowledge assessments and (2) students’ engagement with science learning. Students showed pre- to postsurvey improvements in knowledge assessment, with small to medium effect sizes. In addition, significant school district differences were shown for student post-knowledge assessment scores. On the student engagement questionnaire, students tended to be neutral or to slightly disagree that science learning was important in terms of using science in daily life, stimulating their thinking, discovering science concepts, and satisfying their own curiosity. In addition, students did not appear to change their self-reported engagement level after the intervention. Factors from the district, teacher, and student levels were identified to predict students’ learning outcomes and their engagement with science learning.

The results provide information to both the research community and practitioners. For example, district-level student-teacher ratios consistently and negatively predicted student engagement level, suggesting that policy makers should pursue lower student-teacher ratios to effectively engage earth science learners. In addition, better learning outcomes may result when teachers either use the curriculum as a guide or use it autonomously