Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. C. Elliott Ostler


The practice of providing feedback to teachers through the process of teacher evaluation is designed to improve the quality of instruction at the classroom level. However, there is a dearth of literature concerning how instructional leaders can best support teachers, and what types of feedback are beneficial to improvement. Secondary science education presents a unique challenge to instructional leaders as it is rare to have content experts represented at the administrator level. Few supports exist for administrators who are not science content experts, consequently lending little assistance to the science specialists in the classroom, aside from available outside workshops and resources. This absence of content support for both administrators and science teachers contradicts the idea of Stein and Nelson’s nested learning community (2003) in which content is located at the center of all teaching and learning interactions. The purpose of this study was to examine perceptions of both secondary science teachers and their administrators to explore the current state of feedback in a secondary science classroom, and what that feedback needs to look like to support the professional growth of highly specialized educators. The concurrent mixed methods study surveyed 26 science teachers and 12 administrators from four high schools across the state of Nebraska to gather perception data. Both qualitative and quantitative data from resulting survey completions showed that secondary science teachers value feedback from their evaluating administrators for purposes of professional growth in the classroom. This feedback should include both content-neutral and content-specific components of teaching, as some science teachers felt a greater need for pedagogy-related suggestions while others wanted more directive feedback on strategies connected to their specific activities and how students are grasping the science learning. Over half of the science teacher participants recognized a need for both types of feedback for growth. Secondary administrators both viewed themselves and were deemed capable of providing content-neutral feedback, but were found (by science teachers and themselves) to be lacking in ability to provide content-specific feedback in a secondary science classroom. These results call for additional supports for administrators with regard to the provision of specialized content feedback. In light of the Nebraska College and Career Ready Standards for Science coming in the spring of 2018, the timing is right for providing more science-specific supports to both secondary science teachers and their evaluating administrators.


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 2018 Megan Myers.

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