Dr. Thomas J. Smith
- Discussant: Thomas J. Smith, Ph.D.
- Position: Presidential Teaching Professor
Assessing Teacher Self-Efficacy in Promoting Civic Scientific Literacy
Taiwan’s current Twelve-year Curriculum for Basic Education aims to foster a holistic education for students, promoting their development as learners who display spontaneity, interactivity, and interest in the common good. The ability to actively and critically engage, discuss, and evaluate the profound socio-scientific issues facing the world (e.g., climate change, genetic engineering, artificial intelligence) are integral to this notion of civic literacy. These civic science literacy competencies have become an essential civic responsibility for all individuals in democratic societies, so that they may effectively exercise their rights as informed citizens. This presentation discusses the development of an instrument, grounded in knowledge gained as part of interviews and school visits of the Project SEED team members, to assess the self-efficacy of teachers in promoting students’ civic scientific literacy (i.e., public science literacy or public understanding of science), as well as teacher attitudes towards this competency. The availability of instruments to assess these two constructs will be useful for school administrators as well as teacher professional development trainers who wish to assess the effects their efforts to enhance teaching/learning environments for their students and foster positive attitudes towards civic scientific literacy.
Education and work experience
- University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign), Ph.D., Quantitative Psychology, 2000
- University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign), M.S., Statistics, 1997
- University of St. Thomas (St. Paul, MN), B.A., Psychology, 1988
Thomas J. Smith currently is Professor of Education in the Department of Educational Technology, Research and Assessment at Northern Illinois University. Dr. Smith’s research interests include statistics, research methodology, and large-scale data analysis. He has collaborated on a number of research studies pertaining to STEM education with his Taiwanese colleagues, and currently is participating on a Fulbright-Hays Group Research Project Abroad effort to examine civic literacy in the Taiwanese context.