Open Access
Dira-Smolleck, Lori Ann
Graduate Program:
Curriculum and Instruction
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
February 24, 2004
Committee Members:
  • Carla Zembal Saul, Committee Chair
  • Edgar Paul Yoder, Committee Chair
  • Debra M Freedman, Committee Member
  • Kathleen Anderson Sillman, Committee Member
  • Elementary Science Teaching
  • Scientific Inquiry
  • Science Teaching
  • Science
  • Self-Efficacy
  • Instrument Development
The purpose of this study was to develop, validate and establish the reliability of an instrument that measures preservice teachers’ self-efficacy in regard to the teaching of science as inquiry. The instrument (TSI) is based upon the work of Bandura, Riggs, and Enochs & Riggs (1990). The study used Bandura’s theoretical framework in that the instrument uses the self-efficacy construct to explore the beliefs of prospective elementary science teachers with regards to the teaching of science through inquiry: specifically, the two dimensions of self-efficacy beliefs defined by Bandura: personal self-efficacy and outcome expectancy. Self-efficacy in regard to the teaching of science as inquiry was measured through the use of a 69-item Likert scale instrument designed by the author of the study. A 13-step plan was designed and followed in the process of developing the instrument. To develop the instrument, the researcher first defined the construct to be measured, self-efficacy, as well as a content matrix to represent the five essential elements of classroom inquiry. Second, eighty-one draft Likert type items for the instrument were prepared with at least three representations of each cell in the Essential Elements of Classroom Inquiry matrix. These draft items were modeled after those composing the STEBI A and STEBI B (Riggs, 1988; Enochs & Riggs 1990). This version of the TSI instrument was given to a panel of reviewers that consisted of experts within the field of science education and self-efficacy research. Feedback from the panel was then used to revise Version 1 of the instrument. Following this revision, a ninety-four item instrument was drafted. This version, Version 2, was also reviewed by the panel of experts. Feedback from the reviewers was collected by the researcher and then analyzed. This same process of content and construct validity was conducted through eight versions of the TSI to ensure clarity and comprehension. Version 7 of the instrument was administered to the approximately 200 prospective elementary teachers in the Elementary-Kindergarten Education Program (EK ED) at The Pennsylvania State University in the beginning of the Fall semester of 2003. The participants were enrolled in six sections of SCIED 458: Teaching of Science in the Elementary School. This group of participants represented the intended population for the final instrument. Item analysis was performed with the following goal: What is the most reliable and valid combination of items to compose the TSI for the purposes of assessing preservice elementary teachers’ self-efficacy in regard to the teaching of science through inquiry, and the two dimensions of self-efficacy: personal self-efficacy and outcome expectancy? The data obtained from administering Version 7 of the instrument to the SCIED 458 classes was then used to develop Version 8. Version 8 was also administered to the same group of preservice elementary teachers during the week of December 1, 2003. Although the actual content of the first draft was not changed as a result of data analysis, aesthetic revisions were made to enhance the ease with which a participant completed the instrument. Using the results from Chronbach Alpha and Analysis of Variance, a 69- item instrument was found to achieve the greatest balance across the construct validity, reliability and item balance with the Essential Elements of Classroom Inquiry content matrix. Based on the standardized development processes used and the associated evidence, the TSI appears to be a content and construct valid instrument, with high internal reliability for use with prospective elementary teachers to assess self-efficacy beliefs in regard to the teaching of science as inquiry. Further study of the instruments construct validity is recommended. Norming the TSI may provide some insights and will provide additional information on the TSI that will be useful to users. Additionally, development of a form of the TSI for practicing elementary teachers should be pursued.