Elizabeth A. Davis

Professor; Science Education

Elizabeth A. Davis, School of Education

Betsy Davis is a science educator and teacher educator whose research interests include teacher and student learning. She is especially interested in beginning and experienced elementary teachers, teachers learning to engage in ambitious science teaching, and the roles of curriculum materials and teacher education in promoting teacher learning.

One major focus of Davis's work is the use of educative curriculum materials in supporting elementary teachers in ambitious science teaching. Recent research explored the overarching research question: How does teacher use of educative curriculum materials relate to (a) teachers' learning, (b) teachers' practice (and thus students' opportunities to learn), and (c) students' learning of science content and about scientific practices across scientific disciplines? This work—an NSF-funded collaboration with Annemarie Palincsar at U-M and Sean Smith at Horizon Research, Inc.—explored teachers' uptake of ideas and practices embedded in educative features in curriculum materials.

Davis helped to lead the redesign of the Elementary Teacher Education program to have a more deliberate and detailed focus on practice, as well as on content knowledge for teaching and the ethical obligations of the profession. The aim of the program is to help interns learn how to do the work of ambitious elementary teaching. Related to this, one of Davis's scholarly interests is on how novice elementary teachers leverage their work across disciplines to learn to engage in ambitious science teaching. As outgrowths of this program work, Davis is working on two projects related to teacher education. In a Spencer-funded project called ATTEST, Davis and her colleague Annemarie Palincsar explore how novice elementary teachers learn to teach science. They are developing trajectories of development around a set of high-leverage science teaching practices, content knowledge for teaching science, and a set of equity leverage points for science teaching. As part of a project led by TeachingWorks and funded by the Gates foundation, Davis is supporting the development of resources and tools for science teacher educators.

Among other courses, Davis teaches a graduate course on the development of expertise in science teaching and, in the undergraduate elementary teacher education program, the elementary science methods course. She received her doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley in 1998, and received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers at the White House in 2002 and the Jan Hawkins Early Career Award in 2004. She was inducted into Phi Kappa Phi in 2015.

Davis teaches courses in the following program(s):
Science Education
Elementary Teacher Education
Elementary Teacher Education (ELMAC)
Post-Secondary Science Education


Selected Publications

Davis, E. A., Palincsar, A. S., Smith, P. S., Arias, A., & Kademian, S. (2017). Educative curriculum materials: Uptake, impact, and implications for research and design. Educational Researcher, 46(6), 293-304.

Arias, A., & Davis, E. A. (2017). Supporting children to construct evidence-based claims in science: Individual learning trajectories in a practice-based program. Teaching and Teacher Education, 66, 204-218.

Davis, E. A., Janssen, F., & Van Driel, J. (2016). Teachers and science curriculum materials: Where we are and where we need to go. Studies in Science Education, 52(2), 127-160. (Authors are listed alphabetically.) DOI: 10.1080/03057267.2016.1161701

Davis, E. A., Palincsar, A. S., Arias, A., Bismack, A., Marulis, L., & Iwashyna, S. (2014). Designing educative curriculum materials: A theoretically and empirically driven process. Harvard Educational Review, 84(1), 24-52.

Davis, E. A., & Smithey, J. (2009). Beginning teachers moving toward effective elementary science teaching. Science Education, 93(4), 745-770

Davis, E. A., Petish, D., & Smithey, J. (2006). Challenges new science teachers face. Review of Educational Research, 76(4), 607-651.

Davis, E. A., & Krajcik, J. (2005). Designing educative curriculum materials to promote teacher learning. Educational Researcher, 34(3), 3-14.




9/1/2015 - ongoing Using Multiple Lenses to Investigate the Development of Content Knowledge and Teaching Practices in Relationship to Learning Opportunities
Granting Agency: Spencer Foundation

9/1/2010 - 8/31/2013 ELECTS—Elementary Educative Curricula for Teachers of Science—Investigating teachers' Learning, Practice, and Efficacy Using Effective Curriculum Materials across Scientific Disciplines
Granting Agency: National Science Foundation

9/1/2006 - 3/31/2011 Instructional Materials Development Program
Granting Agency: National Science Foundation

1/2/2000 - 2/1/2008 Investigating the Learning of New Elementary Science Teachers
Granting Agency: University of Michigan

2/10/2006 - 1/10/2008 Learning Progression for Scientific Modeling
Granting Agency: Northwestern University/National Science Foundation

2/9/2001 - 1/9/2006 PECASE/CAREER: Making a Case for New Elementary Science Teachers
Granting Agency: National Science Foundation

2/1/2002 - 1/1/2004 Fostering Pedagogical Reasoning in Prospective Elementary Teachers
Granting Agency: University of Michigan

Courses & Syllabi

Term Catalogue Course Description Syllabus
Fall 2011 EDUC 898. Professional Development Seminar EDUC 898. Second Year Doctoral Proseminar

Winter 2012 EDUC 832. Theory and Research on the Development of Expertise in Science Teaching EDUC 832. Theory and Research on the Development of Expertise in Science Teaching

Winter 2012 EDUC 406. Teaching in the Elementary School EDUC 406. Managing to Teach

Winter 2014 EDUC 406. Teaching in the Elementary School EDUC 406. Managing to Teach

Fall 2011 EDUC 421. Teaching of Science in the Elementary School EDUC 421. Teaching Elementary Science


Room 4107
Mailbox 4107
734.647.0594 betsyd@umich.edu

Curriculum Vitae