Dr. Summers’ research interests relate to the study of science teaching and learning, with a focus on understanding and promoting students’ appreciation and understanding of science. Specifically, he addresses two main lines of research. The first line of research focuses on student attitudes by examining and understanding key preferences of student engagement with science. Dr. Summers studies the connection between precollege students’ attitudes towards science, their intentions to pursue or engage in science, and their actual behaviors. The second line of research examines the perspectives about the nature of science (NOS) held by students, advanced by teachers, and promoted by instructional materials in precollege settings.
This study will investigate factors influencing teacher change after professional learning (PL) experiences and will examine the extent to which modest supports for science and engineering teaching in grades 3-5 sustain PL outcomes over the long term, such as increases in instructional time devoted to science, teacher self-efficacy in science, and teacher use of reform-oriented instructional strategies aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards.