School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


L. Daniele Bradshaw


High-Stakes Assessment, Inquiry, Instruction, Science, Stem, Teachers


Education | Elementary Education | Science and Mathematics Education


The purpose of the transcendental qualitative phenomenological research is to describe the characteristics and strategies of teachers who share the same experiences in teaching science, a non-assessed content, in a high-stakes assessment environment at the third and fourth grade levels. Teacher curriculum choices are dictated by the need to prepare students to take content area standardized assessments in the grade level taught. Science instruction that focuses on scientific reasoning may lead to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) careers for students. Teachers who elect to teach science at the elementary level in a manner that develops scientific reasoning are an anomaly in the high-stakes assessment culture. Participants are Missouri public education teachers of third and fourth grade. Interviews, artifacts, and schedules reveal the essence of teachers who teach science in a grade level not assessed on state assessments. The outcomes reflect the experiences of the teachers involved in the phenomenon. The conclusions identify strategies for teachers to increase time in science instruction and to identify next steps for administrators and educational policy makers.