Trends Affecting Use & Adoption of Science Education Materials


Leading, National Science Education Organization


Inquiry-Based Science Curriculum & Resources in Primary and Middle Schools


This national science education client works to enhance the effectiveness of science education for both teachers and students by developing inquiry-centered science units for grades K through 8. They also makes available to educators professional development training and resources, designed to maximize the potency of their science education materials as key components of elementary and secondary science education. The organization turned to PappasVolk to develop actionable insight into the real-world conditions that influence the adoption of such resources, materials, and practices at the school and district levels.


PappasVolk fielded a multi-mode survey to better understand the rate of adoption of inquiry materials for science education in grades K-8 using telephone, postal mail, and online (email/web) recruiting and instruments to gather data from participants. The study complements earlier research initiatives by documenting and exploring the adoption of inquiry-centered science materials in elementary and middle schools, as well as the facilitating conditions—attitudes, resources, personal and bureaucratic processes, and other factors—that hinder or assist such adoption initiatives.

More than 50 questions were designed to capture participants’ demographic information and better define their professional roles and responsibilities; collect detailed information on the science education materials in use at the school and district levels, as well as the practices and procedures that govern adoption of such materials; and to assess educators’ attitudes toward inquiry-based science education and materials, including educators’ perceptions of both the effectiveness of and community attitudes, support, and knowledge of inquiry-based science learning.


  • A total of 328 responses were received from principals and/or their surrogates. After accounting for duplicate responses and after removing responses for which insufficient identifying information was provided, a total of 321 valid responses were used as the basis for all analyses;
  • Out of 1,070 potential respondents, the responses received from these 321 schools yielded a response rate of 29.2?, accounting for slightly less than 18? of the approximately one million+ K-8 students currently currently attending North Carolina public schools;
  • Successfully delivered project on-budget, though the timeline extended somewhat beyond the original schedule due to recruiting hurdles specific to this audience, primarily that many elementary and middle schools prohibit their staff from participating in such projects.