Students will take a series of courses in science education at the start of the program. The intent of these courses is to introduce the students to both the field of science education and its related research, and to the professional competencies required in the field. On completion of these courses students will be prepared to take their qualifying doctoral examination and will have delineated a general thesis topic area. The six core courses, with brief catalog descriptions are:
CSM 600 History and Philosophy of Science Education
CSM 610 Nature and Practice of Science
CSM 620 Science Teacher Education
CSM 630 Science Education Research Seminar
CSM 640 Directed Study in Science Education
CSM 650 Introduction to Measurement and Assessment in Science Education
History and Philosophy of Science Education. An introduction to the history of the field of science education and the related philosophical underpinnings. The course will survey the major events, ideas and philosophies and how these have changed over time. Particular focus will be on the time period from 1890 to the present day.
The Nature and Practice of Science. An overview of the nature and practice of science through the analysis of current issues in science. Through the extensive use of case studies, students will address questions such as: What is science? What distinguishes science from other ways of knowing? What standards of evidence and scientific explanations, processes, and conventions are used in science? What philosophical, social, ethical, and historical perspectives are important in understanding science?
Science Teacher Education. Introduction to the historical, philosophical and pedagogical issues surrounding science teacher education. Introduction to the nature of the research that has been conducted on teacher education in the past and current trends.
Science Education Research Seminar. Introduction to the major theoretical frameworks and paradigms in science education including societal issues (gender, culture and diversity). Students will be required to critique research papers in the field and will conduct a literature review in their general thesis area. (To be offered annually after the introductory phase of the program).
Directed Study in Science Education. In their fifth semester students will individually complete a directed study with a faculty advisor. The intent of this course is to prepare the students for the doctoral qualifying examination and assist them in refining their research topics. (To be offered annually after the introductory phase of the program).
Introduction to Measurement and Assessment in Science Education. The objective of this course is to introduce students to core ideas in educational measurement and assessment and illustrate applications to the field and practice of science education. The course will survey major theories, empirical methods, and communities of practice relating to the measurement and assessment of scientific knowledge, practices, and attitudes. Focus will be directed at the concepts of reliability and validity and their applications in developing, using, and evaluating the inferences derived from measurement instruments in science education. The course will utilize lectures, lab activities, and discussions.