Teachers' Geoscience Career Knowledge and Implications for Enhancing Diversity in the Geosciences

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Sherman-Morris, K., Brown, M. E., Dyer, J. L., McNeal, K. S., & Rodgers, J. C. (2013). Teachers' Geoscience Career Knowledge and Implications for Enhancing Diversity in the Geosciences. Journal of Geoscience Education, 61(3), 326-333.
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This study examines discrepancies between geoscience career knowledge and biology career knowledge among Mississippi science teachers. Principals and in-service teachers were also surveyed about their perception of geoscience careers and majors. Scores were higher for knowledge of what biologists do (at work) than about what geoscientists do. Career knowledge was enhanced by race, where African American teachers perceived higher biology career knowledge and lower geoscience career knowledge than other races; however, the difference was not significant. Teachers also rated their personal knowledge of 12 of the 2010 Earth and Space Science Content Strand topics. Perceived knowledge of geoscience concepts was significantly less than knowledge of more environmental topics. Race was not significant, but differences between the two topics were enhanced by race. Perceived knowledge of geoscience topics was also significantly lower among female educators across all ethnicities. Because of the lack of Earth science classes taught before college and the demonstrated gaps in geoscience career knowledge even among science teachers, strengthening geoscience career awareness as well as increasing geoscience content knowledge among science teachers would be useful overall, as well as in attempts to enhance diversity in the geosciences.

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