Date of Award

Spring 2013

Document Type

Restricted Thesis

Terms of Use

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Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Educational Studies Department, Chemistry & Biochemistry Department

First Advisor

Kathleen P. Howard

Second Advisor

K. Ann Renninger


This thesis examines the objectives and initiatives ofthe Romanian professional development program entitled "Formarea continua a profesorilor de chimie in societatea cunoa§terii" ("The continuous professional development of chemistry teachers in the knowledge society"). The program is an example ofthe efforts supported by the European Union to address the decline of student interest and retention in chemistry (Abilitare Curriculara, 2007; European Commission, 2000). First, background information on the program is provided. The context of the Romanian educational system is described to ground the incentives ofthe professional development efforts in an explanation ofthe transition supported by the program from a traditional chemistry pedagogical model to a constructivist approach that upholds an active- learning ideology. Next, the target objectives ofthe chemistry teacher training program are considered, which reveal that content relevance and inquiry-based learning are the two competencies that the program focuses on for addressing issues with student interest and retention in chemistry. Consequently, this thesis presents a literature review that supports the two central competencies addressed through the program's initiatives. In particular, studies on the topics of interest, content relevance, and inquiry-based learning provide considerations that are employed to evaluate and elaborate on the efforts of the Romanian professional development program for high school chemistry teachers. The working assumptions of the program are examined both in terms of strengths and limitations. Future considerations are provided as suggestions for additional steps that the initiative could take to further support and enhance the program's objectives.