Date of Award

Spring 2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Public Policy and Administration

Committee Chairperson

David Backer, PhD

Committee Member

Jeff McLaughlin, PhD

Committee Member

Jaunine Donley, PhD


The purpose of this explanatory sequential mixed-methods study was to determine how student-centered instruction shifted and what dilemmas teachers experienced in enacting science instruction as they worked through the COVID-19 pandemic. A modified Draw-A-Science-Teacher-Test was used to examine teachers’ perceived instruction during the Fall of 2019, Fall of 2020, and Fall of 2021. Scores on this modified checklist were compared to determine differences in instruction year-to-year, across grade-bands, and to find trends in instruction concerning student demographics. Interviews were conducted with a subset of teachers in the study to learn more about the dilemmas they faced as their attempted science instruction. Results indicate that teachers’ perceived instruction was mostly student-centered in the fall of 2019 and became significantly teacher-centered in the fall of 2020. Further, teachers’ perceived instruction shifted back toward student-centered in the fall of 2021 but had not reached pre-pandemic levels at that time. Further, teachers that were interviewed recalled being impacted by a variety of dilemmas during each timeframe, including conceptual, pedagogical, cultural, and political dilemmas. Most interestingly, teachers experienced a unique existential dilemma during the pandemic, which I call the pandemic dilemma, that could impact science education in the future.