Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. C. Elliott Ostler


This study utilized a semi-structured interview approach to identify how college methods professors in Nebraska are engaging pre-service K-12 teachers with the Next Generation Science Standards and to determine if this information is being carried over to Nebraska K-12 classrooms. The study attempted to address these items by answering the following research questions. First, what level of exposure and knowledge do methods professor have with regard to NGSS, and what are their perceptions? Second, what specific instructional strategies are college professors implementing to inform pre-service teachers about NGSS? Finally, are methods professors observing the three dimensions of NGSS carry over into the classroom during their students’ field experiences? Nine science methods professors were interviewed from across the state of Nebraska. The interviews were transcribed and analyzed for common themes in responses, and those themes were then used to answer the three research questions that were posed by the study. There were five themes identified from the research. Those themes included lack of NGSS-specific professional development for methods professors, confusion surrounding the cross-cutting concepts dimension, instructional impacts of NGSS, including more hands-on science occurring in the classroom and greater science emphasis iii at the elementary level, limited instructional strategies being utilized, and finally, the influence of cooperating teachers on field experience observations. The researcher identified a need for an increase in the amount of NGSS training available for post-secondary instructors, a need to create clarity in the vocabulary and among the various dimensions of the standards, and the importance of creating quality field experience placements for our pre-service teachers to ensure a continuation of their learning. Implications for further research were explored and included an investigation of professional development opportunities at the post-secondary level. Additionally, a study involving the breaking down of the language of the standards, and using that information to develop a user’s guide for navigating and decoding the standards would be prudent.


A Dissertation Presented to the Faculty of the Graduate College of the University of Nebraska in Partial Fulfillment of Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Education. Copyright 2017 Ashley B. Rasmussen.

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