Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.

Non-UMass Amherst users, please click the view more button below to purchase a copy of this dissertation from Proquest.

(Some titles may also be available free of charge in our Open Access Dissertation Collection, so please check there first.)

An evaluation of UPDATE: A study of the effect of participation in a teacher enhancement program on secondary physics instruction

John Henry Kudukey, University of Massachusetts Amherst


Secondary physics education in the United States has been shown to be sub-standard, and not even offered in many high schools. National assessment results have suggested that changes in secondary physics education are greatly needed and are slow in coming. One attempt to enhance physics instruction is the UPDATE program. UPDATE is a physics teacher enhancement program offered by the University of Massachusetts. The program is primarily designed to enhance physics teacher knowledge in topical and important areas of contemporary physics that are not always well represented in secondary classrooms. This study assesses the impact of participation in the UPDATE program on the high school physics instruction of the 1995-96 program participants. Focus group interviews, individual interviews, and a questionnaire are methods used to collect data. This document includes transcriptions from both focus group and individual interviews, as well as quantitative results from a questionnaire. Commonalities are drawn from the three sources of data to illustrate the impact of the UPDATE program on participants' high school physics instruction. Aspects of the program which have contributed to enhancement of instruction are also identified and recommendations are made for subsequent teacher enhancement programs. The findings generally indicate that participants became more confident, enthusiastic, gained more physics knowledge, and changed their teaching practices to include more UPDATE related topics. In addition, laboratory experiences as well as laboratory equipment offered to participants during the program contributed significantly to their perceived instructional enhancement.

Subject Area

Science education|Secondary education|Curricula|Teaching|Teacher education

Recommended Citation

Kudukey, John Henry, "An evaluation of UPDATE: A study of the effect of participation in a teacher enhancement program on secondary physics instruction" (1997). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI9737552.