Elizabeth A. Davis

Associate Professor; Elementary Teacher Education

Elizabeth A. Davis, School of Education

Betsy Davis is a science educator and teacher educator whose research interests include teacher and student learning. Some particular interests include 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 has explored the overarching research question: How does teacher use of educative curricula 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? The work explores teachers' uptake of ideas and practices embedded in educative features in curriculum materials.

Another major focus of Davis's work is grounded in the Elementary Teacher Education program. The School of Education has been working for several years to reimagine teacher education. This program design work is driven by the desire 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 is to help interns learn how to do the work of ambitious elementary teaching.

Davis's previous work has included several National Science Foundation-funded projects. The CASES project focused on how preservice and new elementary teachers learn to teach inquiry-oriented science and how curriculum materials and technology can support those teachers’ learning. Davis also helped lead the Center for Curriculum Materials in Science, a center for teaching and learning focused on research and development around the use of curriculum materials in promoting teacher and student learning. Davis also served as a coprincipal investigator for the MoDeLS project. Most recently, she co-led (with Annemarie Palincsar at U-M and Sean Smith at Horizon Research, Inc.) the ELECTS project focused on educative curriculum materials. Throughout this work, Davis's research integrates aspects of science education, teacher education, and the learning sciences.

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 and “Managing to Teach.” 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. Important publications have focused on educative curriculum materials (with Joe Krajcik, in Educational Researcher in 2005 and with Palincsar and other colleagues in Harvard Educational Review in 2014) and the challenges faced by beginning elementary and secondary science teachers (with Debra Petish and Julie Smithey, in Review of Educational Research in 2006).

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


Selected Publications

Kenyon, L., Davis, E. A., & Hug, B. (2011). Design approaches to support teachers in modeling practices. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 22(1), 1-21.

Beyer, C., & Davis, E. A. (2009). Using educative curriculum materials to support preservice elementary teachers' curricular planning: A comparison between two different forms of support. Curriculum Inquiry, 39(5), 679-703.

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

Forbes, C., & Davis, E. A. (2008). The development of preservice elementary teachers’ curricular role identity for science teaching. Science Education, 92(5), 909-940.

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

Davis, E. A. (2006). Characterizing productive reflection among preservice elementary teachers: Seeing what matters. Teaching and Teacher Education, 22(3), 281-301.

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

Quintana, C., Reiser, B., Davis, E. A., Krajcik, J., Fretz, E., Duncan, R.G., et al. (2004). A scaffolding design framework for software to support science inquiry. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 13(3), 337-386. (The writing was shared by the first three authors.)

Davis, E. A. (2003). Prompting middle school science students for productive reflection: Generic and directed prompts. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 12(1), 91-142.



Research Affiliations


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