Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

W.M. Laird


In the period between 1961-1964 the North Dakota department of Public Instruction initiated long overdue changes in the science curriculum for the seventh, eighth, and ninth grades of the public schools. Titese involved changes from general science to the life, earth, and physical sciences. During this same period there was a re vitalization of interest in earth science at the national level, with the public school enrollment rising from several thousand to well over one million.

Because of the rapid national growth in earth science enrollment, and the status of earth science in North Dakota, a study to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the existing procedures at both levels was urgently needed. No reconnnendations may legitimately be made nor new policies delineated until the problems have been determined. The purpose of this paper, therefore, is to define the weaknesses of the national and state curricula and to make recommendations on the basis of the findings.

Nationwide data were collected by letters· sent to each state department of education requesting information regarding certification policies, grade level of earth science presentation, and any other state requirements. Additional national data were gathered from the available literature.

Information on earth science in North Dakota was gathered from- the results of a questionnaire sent to each earth science teacher, and from a study of the teacher's data card on file in Bismarck. The data were translated into Fortran and processed by the computer at the University of North Dakota.

The results indicate that on the national and state level earth science procedures are weak. Over one-third of the states have no teacher certification policies in earth science. 1he subject is being taught, for the primary part, by unqualified teachers.

In North Dakota, the situation is somewhat less than adequate. The teachers generally have little or no formal earth science education. The facilities, laboratory space, and equipment are insufficient. And, the programs do not even begin to approach the objectives outlined by the state.

The recorrnnendations for improvement of the North Dakota earth science program include: strengthening of teacher certification requirements; enforcement of existing requirements by the state board; integration of earth science courses under the responsibility of a single teacher; promotion of realistic majors at the college level; -and the recommendation that all science teaching majors must minor in earth science.

Included in

Geology Commons