The USA is at risk of losing its position as a global leader in the space sector because currently students are performing below other space faring nations on international science assessments and are showing declining interest in STEM careers. Recent advancements in the space sector have prompted reform in USA science education that targets improving student academic achievement in science and student interest in pursuing a STEM career. Research on student self-efficacy (Bandura, 1977) has shown positive relationships with student academic achievement in science and STEM career interest; likewise, research has shown a positive relationship between student self-efficacy and teacher self-efficacy. This quasi-experimental study examined the extent to which participation in Giant Moon MapTM enrichment activities affected middle school students' space science self-efficacy and interest in pursuing a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers, and if their teachers' space science self-efficacy influenced those two variables. The Giant Moon MapTM enrichment activities included 20 curated space science lessons and the Aldrin Family Foundation's Giant Moon MapTM. Pre- and post-survey data were collected using measurement scales that assessed self-efficacy, academic achievement, and STEM career interest. Multilevel modeling was used for data analysis of pre- and post-surveys of students (n=397 pre, n=244 post) and teachers (n=10). Results of the multilevel models indicated improvement in space science self-efficacy but not in academic achievement or interest in pursuing a STEM career. No statistically significant relationships of the variables of interest were observed between clusters of students. Findings were limited by missing student data, lack of comparison group post-survey participation, and underuse of the Giant Moon MapTM enrichment activities. Discussion of these findings and implications of this research are presented.
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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Community Innovation and Education
School of Teacher Education
Education; Science Education
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Campus-only Access)
Brendel Otero, Kristina, "Middle School Space Science Education: An Investigation of Self-Efficacy, Content Knowledge, and STEM Career Interests" (2023). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2020-. 1855.
Restricted to the UCF community until August 2024; it will then be open access.