Amanda Woods-McConney  from Murdoch University in Perth Australia.

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    Dr Amanda Woods-McConney
    BSc, MS, PhD

    Senior Lecturer

    About me

    Dr Amanda Woods-McConney is Senior Lecturer in Science Education at Murdoch University’s School of Education. Amanda achieved her PhD at Florida Institute of Technology where she held a Fellowship from the Pew Charitable Trusts for the program initiative: Integrated Approaches to Training in Conservation and Sustainable Development. Amanda has also held academic positions in Science and Teacher Education and Environmental Studies at Western Michigan and Western Oregon Universities. Importantly, in support of her role as a science teacher educator, Amanda has taught high school science in the USA, and primary school science in Western Australia.

    Amanda’s research currently centres on deepening understanding of students’ engagement in science and science literacy, particularly for girls. In addition, complementing her role as a science teacher educator, Amanda’s research spans the effective use of small group work in science, development of teachers’ efficacy in science, and inquiry-based science teaching. In developing each of these lines of research, Amanda remains committed to linking theory and practice through partnerships with schools, science teacher education grounded in practice and science teaching informed by current research.

    Teaching area

    At Murdoch University I have taught in the areas of primary science teacher education and postgraduate educational research methods. Currently I coordinate and teach the following units:

    • Thinking Scientifically (EDN 115), a first year science content unit for prospective science teachers.
    • Teaching Science in Early Childhood and Primary (EDN442), a fourth year science curriculum and methods undergraduate unit.

    Research areas

    My current areas of research include:

    • Understanding qualitatively how teachers conceptualise and enact inquiry-based teaching in their science classrooms
    • Investigating the effectiveness of various pedagogical approaches to teaching science using Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) data
    • Students’ engagement and literacy in science, including girls (Girls in STEM) and Indigenous students
    • Students’ small group work in science and STEM
    • Teachers’ self-efficacy for teaching science and STEM

    Current projects

    • Women in STEM & Entrepreneurship - Demystifying career paths for parents and teachers.
    • Review of Rio Tinto Earth Assist, Conservation Volunteers Australia’s primary environmental education and secondary school community service program funded by Rio Tinto.

    Awards and grants

    2017-2018 Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Industry, Innovation and Science. Women in STEM & Entrepreneurship – Demystifying career paths for girls, parents and teachers (with Professor Cassandra Berry)

    2015-2018 Conservation Volunteers Australia. Review of Rio Tinto Earth Assist programme. Review of Conservation Volunteers Australia’s primary environmental education and secondary school community service program funded by Rio Tinto (with Dr Katie Roe)

    2014 Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Education, Indigenous Higher Education Policy, Research and Strategy Group. Indigenous Student Success in Science. (Co-Investigator with Dr Andrew McConney)

    2011-2013 Australian Learning and Teaching Council (OLT) (Curriculum Renewal Projects). Renewing the sustainable energy curriculum in the 21st century: providing internationally relevant skills for a carbon constrained economy (Tertiary Curriculum Framework Specialist with Associate Professor Chris Lund, Professor Philip Jennings, and Dr. Trevor Pryor, Co-Project Leaders)

    2011 New Zealand Post Primary Teachers’ Association (NZ PPTA). A Systematic Review of the Literature surrounding Fast Track Schemes in Teacher Education, with particular focus on Teach for All ($40K) Project (Researcher with Dr Andrew McConney and Dr Anne Price)

    2010 DET Innovation Projects, Western Australia (Department of Education and Training) The Gwynne Park Model: Teachers as Tutors (University Partner with Gwynne Park Primary School Sam Prodonovich, Principal Investigator)

    1990/1991 Pew Fellowship for the Program Initiative: Integrated Approaches to Training in Conservation and Sustainable Development, Pew Charitable Trusts

    Events and speaking engagements

    McConney, A., & Woods-McConney, A. (2019). Inquiry-based, teacher-directed and adaptive instruction in secondary science: A cross-national analysis of associations with science literacy and interest using PISA 2015. Paper presented at 11th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation (ICERI). 11‑13 November, Sevilla, Spain.

    Woods-McConney, A., Wosnitza, M., & Delzepich, R. (2018). Teacher Education Students’ Self-Efficacy for Teaching Primary Science in Australia.Paper presented at Australasian Science Education Research Association. (ASERA) Conference, 27-29 June, Gold Coast, Australia

    McConney, A., Oliver, M., Woods-McConney, A., & Maor, D. (2016). Does More Inquiry Mean Better Literacy and Engagement in Science? An Analysis of Australia, Canada and New Zealand using PISA. Paper presented at European Conference on Educational Research. (ECER) Conference, 23-26 August, Dublin.

    Woods-McConney, Oliver, M., A., McConney, A., & Maor, D., (2015). Developing engagement and literacy in science: What do the girls say? Paper presented at Australasian Science Education Research Association (ASERA). Conference, 30 June-3 July, Perth, Australia.

    Woods-McConney, A. & Wosnitza, M. (2012). “What do you reckon the prediction or hypothesis will be?” Examining high-level content-related interactions among students in an Australian upper primary science cooperative group work setting. Paper presented at American Educational Research Association (AERA) Conference, 13-17 April, Vancouver, Canada.

    Mansfield, C. & Woods-McConney, A. (2011). “I didn’t always perceive myself as a science person”: Examining development of efficacy for primary science teaching. Paper presented at Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) Conference 27 November – 1 December, Hobart, Tasmania.

    Woods-McConney, A., Oliver, M., Maor, D., Schibeci, R. & McConney, A. (2011). Science engagement in Australia and New Zealand: A comparative, secondary analysis. Paper presented at European Science Education Research Association (ESERA) Conference, 5-9 September, Lyon, France.

    Professional and community service

    Manuscript Peer Reviewer, International Journal of Science Education, Educational Studies, Journal of Curriculum Studies, The Australian Journal of Indigenous Education

    Editorial Board, Research in Science Education, Teaching Science 

    Applecross Senior High School Board Member 2016, 2017, 2018

    Doctoral and masters supervisions

    Doctoral and Masters Research Students (Current)

    • Keryn Sturrock (PhD). Science inquiry pedagogy in Western Australian classrooms. (Principal supervisor). Research Training Program Scholarship.
    • Shennae Searle (EdD Part-time). Engaging Australian primary school girls in STEM: A case study. (Principal supervisor).
    • Felicity Baker (MEd Research Part-time). Teachers’ Perspectives and Experiences in Planning for and Delivery of Mathematical Problem Solving in Western Australian Primary School Classrooms(Co-supervisor).

    Completed Higher Degree by Research (Graduate) Students

    • Kristina daSilva-Branco, MEd Research (2019). Education for Sustainability: Understanding the dynamics among curriculum guidelines, teachers’ perceptions of sustainability and its implementation within primary schools in Western Australia. (Principal supervisor)
    • Ani Widyati, EdD (2017). Professionalism of teachers in Indonesia. (Co-supervisor) Murdoch University School of Education Prize for best EdD Dissertation, 2017
    • Deborah Netolicky, PhD (2016). Down the rabbit hole: Professional identities, professional learning, and change in one Australian school.(Co-supervisor)
    • Robert Mowbray MEd Research (2011). Improving Lecture Effectiveness through Training in Public Speaking. (Co‑supervisor)


    Refereed journal articles

    Oliver, M.C., McConney, A, & Woods-McConney, A. (2019). The efficacy of inquiry-based teaching and learning in science: A comparative analysis of six countries using PISA 2015Research in Science Education, DOI: 10.1007/s11165-019-09901-0

    Oliver, M.O., Woods-McConney, A., Maor, D., & McConney, A. (2017). Female senior secondary physics students’ engagement in science: a qualitative study of constructive influences. International Journal of STEM Education, 4(1) DOI 10.1186/s40594-017-0060-9Full text access.

    Rowen, C., Woods-McConney, A., Hughes, L. & Laird, D. (2017). Outcomes of a chemistry content professional learning session: Teachers’ perspectives. Teaching Science, 62 (2): 42-47.

    Lund, C., Pryor, T., Jennings, P., Blackmore, K., Corkish, R., Saman, W., Miller, W., Watanabe, E., & Woods-McConney, A., (2017). Sustainable energy education: addressing the needs of students and industry in AustraliaRenewable Energy and Environmental Sustainability, 2, 40. DOI:10.1051/rees/2017046 Full text access.

    Woods-McConney, A., Wosnitza, M. & Sturrock, K. (2016) Inquiry and groups: student interactions in cooperative inquiry-based science, International Journal of Science Education, 38:5, 842-860. Published online 3 May, 2016. DOI: 10.1080/09500693.2016.1169454

    Wosnitza, M., Labitske, N., Woods-McConney, A. & Karabenick, S. (2015). Consistently Inconsistent: Teachers’ beliefs about help seeking in group-work learning. Teachers and Teaching21(1), 74-86. First published on: 14 July 2014. DOI: 10.1080/13540602.2014.928119

    McConney, A., Oliver, M. C., Woods-McConney, A., Schibeci, R., & Maor, D. (2014). Inquiry, Engagement, and Literacy in Science: A retrospective, cross-national analysis using PISA 2006. Science Education. 98 (6), 963–980. First published on: 14 September 2014. DOI: 10.1002/sce.21135

    Woods-McConney, A., Oliver, M., McConney, A., Schibeci, R., & Maor, D. (2014). Science Engagement and Literacy: A retrospective analysis for students in Australia and Canada. International Journal of Science Education. 36(10), 1588-1608. DOI:10.1080/09500693.2013.871658

    Woods-McConney, A., Oliver, M., McConney, A., Maor, D., & Schibeci, R. (2013). Science Engagement and Literacy: A Retrospective Analysis for Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Students in Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia. Research in Science Education. 43: 233–252. First published on: 19 October 2011 Online First

    Mansfield, C. & Woods-McConney, A. (2012). “I didn’t always perceive myself as a science person”: Examining development of efficacy for primary science teaching. Australian Journal of Teacher Education 37(10), 37-52.

    Klassen, R, Al-Dhafri, S., Mansfield, C.M., Purwanto, E, Siu, A., Wong, M., Woods-McConney, A. (2012). Teachers’ Engagement at Work: An International Validation Study. Journal of Experimental Education, 80(4): 317-337. DOI 10.1080/00220973.2012.678409

    Woods-McConney, A., Wosnitza, M., & Donetta, K. (2011). Keep it positive: Using student goals and appraisals to inform small group work in science. Teaching Science, 57(3):20-24.

    McConney, A., Oliver, M., Woods-McConney, A., & Schibeci, R. (2011). Bridging the Gap? A Comparative, Retrospective Analysis of Science Literacy and Interest in Science for Indigenous and Non Indigenous Australian Students. International Journal of Science Education. 33(14):2017-2035.

    Gaiser E., Rosenfeld K., Ebert-May D., Weber E.P., & Woods McConney, A. (2005). Here today, not gone tomorrow? Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 3(8): 452 453.

    Horton, P. B., McConney, A., Woods, A. L., Barry, K., Krout II, H. L., & Doyle, B. K. (1993). A content analysis of research published in the Journal of Research in Science Teaching from 1985 through 1989. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 30 (8), 857-870.

    Horton, P. B., McConney, A., Gallo, M., Woods, A. L., Senn, G. J., & Hamelin, D. (1993). An investigation of the effectiveness of concept mapping as an instructional tool. Science Education, 77 (1), 95-111.


    Woods-McConney, A. (2015). Teacher Preparation and Indigenous Students. In R. Gunstone (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Science Education. pp 1025-1027. Springer Dordrecht, Heidelberg, New York, London.

    Chapters in Edited Books

    Woods-McConney, A., McConney, A., & Sturrock, K. (Expected Publication date May 2020). Inquiry-based teaching and learning in primary STEM. In A. Fitzgerald, C. Haeusler, and L. Pfeiffer (Eds.), STEM Education in Primary Classrooms: Unravelling Contemporary Approaches in Australia and New Zealand. Routledge

    Gaiser E., Rosenfeld K., Ebert-May D., Weber E.P., & Woods McConney, A. (2008). Here today, not gone tomorrow? In Ebert-May D and, Hodder J. eds. Pathways to Scientific Teaching. Sunderland CT: Sinauer Associates, Inc.

    Woods McConney, A., McConney, A. A., & Horton, P. B. (1997). Gender differences in the environmental decision-making of secondary school students. In P. J. Thompson (Ed.), Environmental issues for the 21st century: International and interdisciplinary perspectives. New York: Peter Lang Publishing.

    Technical Evaluation and Research Reports

    Woods-McConney, A., Roe, K. & Burgess, M. (2019). Classrooms brought to life: Rio Tinto Earth Assist. Perth: Murdoch University, School of Education.

    Woods‑McConney, A. & McConney, A. (2014). Indigenous Student Success in Science. Perth: Murdoch University, School of Education. A research report for the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Higher Education Advisory Council (ATSIHEAC) and the Indigenous Higher Education Policy, Research and Strategy Group, Department of Education, Australian Government.

    McConney, A., Price, A., & Woods-McConney, A. (2012). Fast track teacher education: A review of the research literature on Teach For All schemes. Perth: Murdoch University, Centre for Learning, Change and Development. ISBN 978-0-9876543-1-1 ED529919 Available at

    Lewis, E. & Woods-McConney, A. (2009) Bertram Primary School: Environmental Science Education in the Wetlands and Education for Sustainability. School of Education, Murdoch University.

    McConney, A. & Woods McConney, A. (2005). Academy for Technology Excellence: Internal Program Evaluation Report 2005. Ft. Myers, FL: The School District of Lee County, Florida, Department of Quality, Continuous Improvement, and Planning, and The Whitaker Center for Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education, Florida Gulf Coast University.

    Woods McConney, A. (2000). Environmental Education and Training Partnership (EETAP) Project and Partner Work Plans: A Review. Salem, OR: Author.

    McConney, A., Schalock, M., Ayres, R., & Woods McConney, A. (2000). Oregon Forestry Education Program, Project Learning Tree Workshops: Program Evaluation 2000. Monmouth, OR: Western Oregon University, Teaching Research Division, Evaluation and Research Group.

    Perry, C., Smith, D., & Woods McConney, A. (1998). Assessment framework for a proficiency-based teacher education program. Monmouth, OR: School of Education, Western Oregon University.

    Schalock, M., McConney, A., Woods McConney, A., & Schalock, D. (1997). Matching Study Between Oregon’s Benchmarked Content Standards and TSPC Required Content Examinations, Final Report: Phase One. Monmouth, OR: Western Oregon University, Teaching Research Division, Teacher Effectiveness Project.