Increasing expertise in earth science education through master's education

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Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences; Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences


The processes of developing and the results of testing a master's degree program designed to increase the number and quality of secondary-level earth science teachers are described in this paper. The master's program is intended to serve practicing secondary-level science and math teachers who lack subject-area endorsement in earth science. There is need for programs such as this because there is a nationwide shortage of qualified earth science teachers. By targeting teachers who are already trained and certified in science or math, the program can focus solely on earth science content and pedagogical content knowledge. The program can be completed in 2 y via online academic-year instruction and on-campus or field-based training during summers. Completion of the master's program satisfies teachers' need for ongoing professional development. A group of teachers pilot-tested the master's curriculum and participated in qualitative and quantitative evaluation activities. The program is recognized by the state of Michigan as a path to subject-area endorsement in earth science. All materials developed for the program are available online and will be made available to others who wish to use it as a model for development of similar programs.

Publisher's Statement

© 2012 National Association of Geoscience Teachers. Publisher’s version of record:

Publication Title

Journal of Geoscience Education