Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

EdD Educational Leadership


Educational Services and Leadership


College of Education

First Advisor

Johnson, Ane Turner

Second Advisor

Abi-El-Mona, Issam

Third Advisor

Walpole, MaryBeth


Environmental sciences--Study and teaching


Science and Mathematics Education


The purpose of this mixed-methods, design-based study was to explore the potential for socioscientific issues framed by environmental to motivate high school environmental science students. The embedded design began and ended with a survey of student dispositions, and included interviews of particular students in an effort to capture views of general and personal dispositions. Statistical analyses uncovered a moralistic approach to environmental decision-making, and a positive outlook of the future, including the confidence to solve environmental problems. Students revealed an abstract notion of the environment that requires innovative approaches to teaching environmental science, and view scientists as essential change agents in the face of environmental challenges. In addition, a socioscientific approach framed by environmental justice empowers as well as motivates students. However, a STEM-based approach alone is insufficient to motivate high school students. The data from this study suggests the need to changes in environmental science pedagogy as well as a critique of the Next Generation Science Standards.