An Analysis of Teacher Candidates’ Scientific Perspective Among Different Student Groups

Main Article Content

Nancy G. Caukin
Angela Google
Thomas M. Brinthaupt


Studies indicate teachers’ beliefs about their scientific epistemological views (SEVs) influence their instructional practices. In this study, we measured the SEVs of 291 undergraduate students, emphasizing comparisons based on teacher candidacy status (yes/no) and mathematics/science content area (yes/no). These comparisons examined the role that teacher preparation programs play in the development of future teachers’ SEVs. Results indicate that the mathematics/science teacher candidates had, on average, higher SEV scores (more constructivist view of the nature of scientific knowledge rather than a more empiricist view) than their non-mathematics/science and non-teacher candidate counterparts. They also had higher scores on most SEV domains. Implications of measuring college students’ SEV and its potential impact on teacher preparation programs are discussed.


Article Details

Research / Empirical
Author Biographies

Nancy G. Caukin, Middle Tennessee State University

Nancy Caukin is an Associate Professor and the Program Coordinator for the Ready2Teach Program in the Womack Family Education Leadership Department in the College of Education at Middle Tennessee State University. She trains secondary undergraduate teacher candidates. She began her career working in outdoor education before her fifteen-year tenure as a high school science teacher. Her research interests include teacher candidate beliefs, scientific epistemological views, and sense of self-efficacy.

Angela Google, Middle Tennessee State University

Angela Google is a PhD candidate in Interdisciplinary Sciences Education at Middle Tennessee State University. Inspired by advising undergraduate STEM majors and teaching introductory biology courses, her research seeks to develop a deeper understanding of how undergraduate students overcome barriers to success in college STEM courses, specifically students of color. In this light, she has made scholarly contributions with her research on at-risk undergraduate student preparedness for introductory STEM courses, pre-service STEM teachers’ evolution of conceptualization, and engaging undergraduate biology student in authentic scientific practices.


Thomas M. Brinthaupt, Middle Tennessee State University

Tom is a Professor in the Psychology Department at Middle Tennessee State University. Tom’s primary area of research is the psychology of self and identity, in particular self-talk and individual differences in self-related processes. He also conducts research in personality psychology, measurement and assessment, sport and exercise psychology, and the scholarship of teaching and learning. In addition, he serves as Director of Faculty Development at the Learning, Teaching, and Innovative Technologies Center at MTSU where he promotes and supports the professional development of faculty members.