Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department / School

Chemistry and Biochemistry

First Advisor

Matthew MIller


chemistry education, pedagogical content knowledge, professional development, qualitative, research methods, science education, teacher education


The M.S. Chemistry – Chemical Education Specialization program at South Dakota State University provides in-depth general chemistry coursework to in-service high school science teachers in a virtual format. The goal of the program is for the teachers enrolled to become more effective teachers while gaining content knowledge in chemistry; in essence, to increase their pedagogical content knowledge (PCK). The aim of this study is to follow participants through their experience in this program in order to understand how the program’s requirements enhance its participants’ teaching and learning. A narrative framework follows one participant through their two-year experience in the program, using virtual teaching observations, chemistry content exams, and individual interviews. Surveys and course assignments were analyzed to determine pedagogical change exhibited by science teachers and provide details as to why their experience in the program may have yielded PCK change. Modules have been implemented in content courses to determine changes in PCK through the teachers’ development of chemistry content knowledge. An on-campus summer research experience documents teachers’ experiences in a research environment and how it informs development of classroom activities. Teachers demonstrated improved quantity and quality of PCK through MS program core courses, including the campus summer experiences. Participants also experienced professional development through the MS program. Interactions between MS program participants supported positive PCK and professional development change.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

High school teachers -- Education (Continuing education)
Science teachers -- Education (Continuing education)
Chemistry teachers -- Education (Continuing education)
Science -- Study and teaching (Continuing education)
Chemistry -- Study and teaching (Continuing education)
Pedagogical content knowledge.
Career development


South Dakota State University



Rights Statement

In Copyright