The Relationship Between Content Preparation and Literacy of Science Teachers and High School Enrollment Size




Porter, William A.
Rossbach, Thomas J.
Cornelius, Wayne L.

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The Grosvenor Center for Geographic Education


This study examines the relationship between teacher content preparation and literacy among high school earth science teachers and school size in the state of North Carolina. The results indicate that small schools have a relatively larger percentage of earth science teachers with no formal course training in this subject when compared to earth science teachers in large schools. Also, the results suggest a general trend correlating increasing school size with teachers who have completed a greater percentage coursework in earth science. The findings show that teachers from smaller schools are especially deficient in their knowledge of selected geography and, to a lesser extent, geology concepts. Plate tectonics was the only concept studied where there was a significant difference between small and large size schools in teacher familiarity indices; earth science teachers from smaller schools were not as knowledgeable about this concept as their counterparts from larger schools. While no other significant statistical difference was found between school size and teacher preparation and literacy, in general small schools had both higher percentages of teachers with no completed course work experience in earth science as well as lower indices of familiarity among the selected concepts.



geography, teacher preparation, teacher literacy, earth science, school size


Porter, W.A., Rossbach, T.J., & Cornelius, W.L. (2007). The relationship between content preparation and literacy of science teachers and high school enrollment size. Research in Geographic Education, 9(2), pp. 74-103.


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