School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Amy McDaniel

Primary Subject Area

Education, Administration; Education, General; Education, Curriculum and Instruction; Education, Secondary; Education, Sciences; Education, Sociology of; Education, Teacher Training; Sociology, General


cognitive-perceptual theory, effective teaching, middle school, poverty, school leadership, science education


Curriculum and Instruction | Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Elementary and Middle and Secondary Education Administration | Science and Mathematics Education | Sociology | Teacher Education and Professional Development


This qualitative case study described the characteristics of science teachers in a high poverty urban middle school whose 2010 scores on South Carolina's Palmetto Assessment of State Standards (PASS) ranked second in the state. Data was obtained through classroom observations, open-ended interviews, school documents, and photographs taken inside the school from ten participants, who were seven science teachers, a science coach, and two administrators. Findings revealed a school culture that pursued warm and caring relationships with students while communicating high expectations for achievement, strong central leadership who communicated their vision and continuously checked for its implementation through informal conversations, frequent classroom observations, and test score analysis. A link between participants' current actions and their perception of prior personal and professional experiences was found. Participants related their classroom actions to the lives of the students outside of school, and evidenced affection for their students.