Date of Award


Degree Name

Curriculum and Instruction


College of Education

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Edna Meisel, Ed.D., Committee Chairperson

Second Advisor

Lisa A. Heaton, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Louis Watts, Ed.D.

Fourth Advisor

Brenda Tuckwiller, Ed.D.


The purpose of this research study was to investigate West Virginia middle school science teachers’ perceptions regarding inquiry-based instruction. Teacher efficacy level, extent of use, and supports and obstacles in regard to inquiry-based instruction were considered. In addition, demographic relationships were explored in comparison with efficacy level and extent of use in regard to inquiry-based instruction. Demographics included number of preps taught, years of science teaching experience, class size, class time, planning time, professional development opportunities attended, and exposure to inquiry-based instruction in education science course work. West Virginia middle school science teacher perceptions of this study were measured using a 6-point Likert scale and included three qualitative questions in regard to supports, obstacles, and additional comments concerning inquiry-based instruction. Fifty-seven West Virginia middle school science teachers from 26 schools across six counties were included in this study. The data revealed the majority of respondents felt comfortable using inquiry-based instruction, recognized its effectiveness in teaching students science, and perceived inquirybased instruction to be more effective than lecture or text-based instruction. Conversely, many respondents feel they were not adequately trained in inquiry-based instruction in their science education course work and are not comfortable creating inquiry-based instruction that aligns with state standards. Furthermore, many respondents disagreed that the West Virginia Next Generation Science Content Standards and Objectives are effective teacher guidelines for creating inquiry-based instruction. Administration, colleagues, and student level of enjoyment and engagement were agreed as forms of support for inquiry-based instruction. Lack of laboratory supplies, lack of funding, and limited class and planning time were perceived as obstacles in the use of inquiry-based instruction. Further research on equitable funding for middle school science classrooms, across West Virginia, could benefit student achievement in science and eliminate many barriers middle school teachers face in the use of inquiry-based instruction. Additionally, the creation of a state-level professional development program that addresses the use of inquiry-based instruction that aligns with West Virginia Next Generation Science Content Standards and Objectives could greatly benefit teacher efficacy levels in inquiry-based instruction, especially for new and uncertified middle school science teachers.


Science -- Study and teaching (Middle school) -- West Virginia.

Inquiry-based learning.