Master's Theses

Date of Award

Summer 1967

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Calvin E. Harbin


The purpose of the study was to examine certain problems related to seventh and eighth grade science programs in a sample area of North Central Kansas and to relate these problems to similar problems which appear to exist in other areas of the state. The specific area studies included: Cloud, Jewell, Lincoln, Mitchell, Osborne, and Ottawa countries in Kansas. The area is predominately rural with no accredited junior high schools. The study was limited to Public Unified or common school districts in the sample area. The fifteen school superintendents interviewed furnished the following data concerning the forty-two seventh and eighth grade science teachers involved in the study: (1) Seven of the teachers were in their first year of teaching, while two teachers had completed thirty years or more of teaching. The average experience was 10.6 years, with the median begin 7.5 years. (2) Eighteen teachers were teaching for the first time in the present system, while one was in his fifteenth year of tenure. The average tenure was 3.4 years while the median was two years. (3) Twenty-three teachers had only secondary certificates, fourteen teachers had only elementary certification and five teachers were certified at both levels. (4) The greatest number of total science hours accumulated by any teacher was ninety-seven, while two teachers had completed only three hours each. The average total hours in science per teacher was 24.3 with a median of twenty-two. (5) The teachers had completed an average of 13.7 hours biological science with a median of ten hours. The average number of physical science hours was 10.6 with a median of five hours. Only nine of the teachers had earned college credit in science method courses. The teachers provided information which concerned: (1) The number of students in their classrooms, (2) the time scheduled for science classes, (3) their attitudes toward science teaching and about the adequacy of their science backgrounds, and (4) their desire for more academic science training. A total of 1,515 students were assigned to the seventh and eighth grade science classrooms in the study. Nineteen teachers with less than twenty science hours were teaching 394 students, while the twenty-two teachers with twenty or more science hours were teaching 1,121 students. Twenty-eight of the teachers indicated they enjoyed teaching science even though some of them had feelings of inadequacy. Three teachers evidenced a dislike for teaching science at this level and ten others indicated little enthusiasm toward their science teaching. Twenty-one of the teachers believed their science preparations was adequate for their teaching assignments while twenty considered their academic background in science to be somewhat inadequate. Many of the teachers indicated a desire to take some more science courses if the opportunity presented itself. The study revealed that an approximately equal number of teachers were teaching 1,213 students in departmentalized classrooms and only 302 students in self-contained classrooms. The time scheduled for science varied from forty to 180 hours per year with a median number of 105 hours. The 1,515 seventh and eighth grade science students involved in the study averaged approximately 112 scheduled hours of science for the year. A judgment of the adequacy of the science equipment and facilities present in the various classrooms was made with the help of each teacher. Twenty-seven classrooms housing 971 students had what was deemed adequate equipment. Ten classrooms with 498 students were considered to have inadequate equipment, while four classrooms with forty-six students were placed in the “poor” category. Facilities, which include space for student experimentation, were adequate in twenty-one classrooms which housed 451 students. Seventeen classrooms with 724 students were considered to have inadequate facilities, with some of the larger classes being involved. There were only three cases in which facilities were considered poor, but these involved 340 students. Nearly 70% of the students were in classrooms with what was considered either inadequate or poor facilities.


Copyright 1967 Lauren K. Collier


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