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Gregory Rushton, Research Professor


B.A. University of Southern California, 1993
M.Ed. University of South Carolina, 1998
Ph.D. University of South Carolina, 2004

475 Chemistry
Phone: (631) 632-7496

The Rushton Group Website

Chemistry Education

Research Areas: Conceptual change in tertiary chemistry learning environments; classroom discourse practices; policy reform in K-16 chemistry education; large-scale demographic analyses of K-12 STEM teaching populations; science teacher leadership; curricular reform through research-driven decisions; pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) in chemistry.

Discourse Practices in Secondary and Tertiary STEM Learning Environments:

 We are currently investigating discourse practices with reform-based classroom settings to understand and influence how scientific argumentation unfolds in introductory chemistry courses.  In both projects, one at the secondary level and the other at a university, we are seeking to promote conceptual change towards normative views of the natural world using student-centered, active learning approaches.  To date, we have developed curricular modules and instructional interventions designed to teach students how to talk to each other regarding claims, empirical evidence, reasoning and explanations, and counterarguments and rebuttals.  Once the curricular materials are tested in various classroom environments, they will be revised, retested, proposed as examples for chemistry and physics education educators for use in classrooms nationally and internationally.

K-12 STEM Teacher Leadership:

We are currently investigating the process through which STEM educators in K-12 settings move along trajectories from novice to professional practitioner and finally to teacher leader.  We are particularly interested in the potential of developing STEM teacher leaders to address the loss of early and mid-career professionals to careers outside of the classroom.  We are currently working with 32 high school chemistry and physics teachers and have designed a professional development program aimed at identifying and addressing issues related to their content knowledge, professional identity, and leadership abilities with the goal of influencing educational policy decisions at the local, state and national levels.  The professional development model we have proposed is expected to inform the science education community’s understanding of what teacher leadership is, how it can be measured, and through what mechanisms it can be facilitated and promoted.

Longitudinal Analysis of US K-12 STEM Teacher Demographic Trends:

We are currently analyzing a series of large national datasets containing information regarding the demographics of the US public and private school teaching workforce between 1987 and 2012.  We began with a study of the US public chemistry teachers in collaboration with the American Chemical Society (ACS) Education Division and have since developed a similar partnership with the American Physical Society (APS) to report on the longitudinal trends in the physics teaching population.  We have also completed the analytical work for US biology, and separately, mathematics teachers and are preparing manuscripts summarizing our findings.  Currently, we are analyzing historical trends in US public ‘high needs’ school teachers compared to other populations including private and charter schools.  We are also using more advanced analytic methodologies to study historical trends in US STEM teacher attrition, with the goal of developing predictive models that will inform funding and policy decisions regarding teacher recruitment, preparation and retention at both state and national levels.

Selected Publications:

Rushton, GT; Rosengrant, D; Dewar, A; Ray, HE; Shah, L; Sheppard, K; Watanabe, L. (2017). Towards a high quality high school workforce: A longitudinal, demographic analysis of U.S. public school physics teachers.  Physical Review Physics Education Research.13(2): 020122. DOI:

Ellis, JA; Roehrig, GH; Polizzi, SJ; Rushton, GT. (2017). Teachers as leaders: The impact of teacher leadership supports for beginning teachers in an online induction program. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, 25(3), 245-272.

Criswell, B. A., Rushton, G. T., McDonald, S. P., & Gul, T. (2017). A Clearer Vision: Creating and Evolving a Model to Support the Development of Science Teacher Leaders. Research in Science Education, 1-27. doi:

Rushton, G. T., Dewar, A., Ray, H. E., Criswell, B. A., & Shah, L. (2016). Setting a Standard for Chemistry Education in the Next Generation: A Retrosynthetic Analysis. ACS Central Science, 2(11), 825-833. doi: 10.1021/acscentsci.6b00216.

Rushton, GT; Criswell, BA. (2015). Plugging the ‘Leaky Bucket’ of Early Career Science Teacher Attrition Through the Development of Professional Vision. In Luft, JA and Dubois, S. (Eds.) Newly Hired Teachers of Science: A Better Beginning. (pp. 87-98). Rotterdam:The Netherlands. Sense Publishers. ISBN: 9789463002820.

Adams, A.; Jessup, W.; Criswell, BA; Weaver-High, C; Rushton, GT. (2015). Using Inquiry To Break The Language Barrier in High School Chemistry Classrooms. Journal of Chemical Education. doi/10.1021/ed500837p

Polizzi, SJ; Jaggernauth, J; Ray, HG; Callahan, B; Rushton, G.T. (2015). Highly qualified or highly unqualified? A longitudinal study of America’s public high school biology teachers, Bioscience, doi: 10.1093/biosci/biv093

Dass, K.; Head, M.; Rushton, G.T. (2015).  Building an understanding of how model-based inquiry is implemented in the high school chemistry classroom, Journal of Chemical Education, doi: 10.1021/acs.jchemed.5b00191

Rushton, G. T., Ray, H. E., Criswell, B. A., Polizzi, S. J., Bearss, C. J., Levelsmier, N., Chhita, H. & Kirchhoff, M. (2014). Stemming the Diffusion of Responsibility A Longitudinal Case Study of America’s Chemistry Teachers. Educational Researcher, 43: 390-403, DOI:10.3102/0013189X14556341.

Hernández, G. E., Criswell, B. A., Kirk, N. J., Sauder, D. G., & Rushton, G. T. (2014). Pushing for particulate level models of adiabatic and isothermal processes in upper-level chemistry courses: a qualitative study. Chemistry Education Research and Practice, 15, 354-365,DOI:10.1039/C4RP00008K.

Criswell, B. A., & Rushton, G. T. (2014). Activity Structures and the Unfolding of Problem-Solving Actions in High-School Chemistry Classrooms. Research in Science Education, 44(1), 155-188. DOI: 10.1007/s11165-013-9374-x

Lotter, C., Rushton, G. T., & Singer, J. (2013). Teacher Enactment Patterns: How Can We Help Move All Teachers to Reform-Based Inquiry Practice Through Professional Development? Journal of Science Teacher Education, 24(8), 1263-1291.  DOI:10.1007/s10972-013-9361-0.

Rushton, G. T., Criswell, B. A., McAllister, N. D., Polizzi, S. J., Moore, L. A., & Pierre, M. S. (2013). Charting an Alternate Pathway to Reaction Orders and Rate Laws in Introductory Chemistry Courses. Journal of Chemical Education, 91(1), 66-73. DOI: 10.1021/ed3006743.

Rushton, G. T., & Criswell, B. A. (2013). Response to Johannsen, Rump, and Linder’s Penetrating a wall of introspection: a critical attrition analysis. Cultural Studies of Science Education, 8(1), 117-126. DOI: 10.1007/s11422-012-9469-0