Differences in Math and Science Understanding between NSF GK-12 Participant Groups: A Year Long Study

  • Jennifer Anne Wilhelm
  • Xiaobo She
  • Darrellee Clem Morrison
Keywords: STEM integration and communication


In this study, interdisciplinary environments were created in NSF institutes and classrooms with graduate fellows and teachers. Using a mixed methodology, we examined how experiential learning influenced participants mathematical/scientific actions and compared differences in mathematics/science efficacy and content understanding between participant groups. Pre-assessment findings revealed no significant differences in content knowledge or self-efficacy issues between fellows and teachers. However, midyear and post test results showed a significant difference between fellows and teachers on the mathematics content domains. Significant differences were observed between gender groups (favoring males) on mathematical items of content and efficacy pre and midyear assessments and between science/mathematics discipline groups on mathematical items of content pre and post tests (favoring mathematicians). Interdisciplinary settings initiated learners to voice their beliefs and realizations regarding their mathematical and scientific understandings. Most discomfort displayed by participants revolved around mathematics.