Building State Capacity for Excellence: Understanding the Influence of Noyce Programs on the Texas Teacher Workfoce

  • NSF Noyce Award # 1557273
  • First Name Catherine
  • Last Name Horn
  • Email clhorn2@uh.edu
  • Discipline Other:: Track IV - Research
  • Co-PI(s)

    Paige Evans, University of Houston, pkevans@Central.UH.EDU
    Andrea Burridge, University of Houston, aburridge@Central.UH.EDU
    Donna Stokes, University of Houston, dwstokes@Central.UH.EDU
    Laveria Hutchison, University of Houston, LHutchison@Central.UH.EDU

  • Presenters

    Catherine Horn, University of Houston, clhorn2@uh.edu
    ; Paige Evans, University of Houston, pkevans@Central.UH.EDU

Need

Texas public schools have a student population of over 5 million where more than 60% are classified as economically disadvantaged; of the 8500+ campuses in the state, over 7,000 are designated by the U S Department of Education as having a high concentration of low-income families. And, as we know from a deep body of research, the quality of teaching has perhaps the greatest potential effect (NRC, 2010, p. 9) on ensuring the success of these students. Preparing and retaining a strong supply of highly effective teachers, then, is one of Texas most critical public workforce issues. The quality and effectiveness of public school teachers profoundly influences the academic, civic and social development of the state’s burgeoning student population, and it can be argued that cultivation of a competent and caring teacher workforce for Texas schools is ultimately the key linchpin in state efforts to assure economic prosperity and a and a high standard of living for all Texans.

Goals

One of the important more recently implemented national mechanisms for ameliorating this crisis is the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program. First authorized in 2002, this program “responds to the critical need for K-12 teachers of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics by encouraging STEM students and professionals to pursue teaching careers in elementary and secondary schools” (NSF, 2015). As a result of these efforts, more than 30 programs have been implemented in Texas alone (NSF, 2015). With such a critical mass of similarly intentioned programs now in place, it is an important opportunity to reflect across this work to understand where common lessons may be learned and how context is influencing the success of outcomes. It is to that end that this Noyce Track 4 Type A proposal turns. Specifically, the study includes 8 Texas public universities who have implemented Noyce programs and seeks to answer the question: For teacher candidates who enter and remain in the teaching profession, over time, how do Noyce participants compare with respect to a variety of individual and receiving campus characteristics? • individual characteristics of those who are placed in a position; characteristics of the schools and K-12students they serve; • individual (e.g., post-bac versus undergraduate) and program characteristics (e.g., types of clinical experience; rural versus urban) that predict likelihood of retention in high needs schools

Approach

Quantitative description will characterize the Noyce programs, their students, and eventual employment. To address the critical questions of retention, both within educator preparation programs leading to certification of students as potential teachers as well as retention of teachers within high-needs schools once hired, event history analysis will be utilized. These analyses capitalize on the number of participating universities in this study in order to have a robust sample of Noyce and non-Noyce participants within the same programs.

Outcomes

The research literature on the effects of teacher preparation on teacher outcomes remains largely descriptive (e.g., Dean et al., 2005) with few large-scale studies focused on outcomes. The wide variety of program variability within preparation has made it difficult to study preparation effects (Levine, 2006). It is hoped that by combining research capacity across eight institutions and their respective students and school districts, it will be possible to develop a more complex lens in which to investigate preparation program components and outcomes and compare the effects of differential preparation on student achievement. Such an understanding is also essential in its implications for subsequent implementation of Noyce and other related programs.

Broader Impacts

This project provides two things. First, one of the issues in doing quantitative evaluation of programs such as Noyce is the small sample size. We ameliorate that by capitalizing on multiple institutions, the ability to aggregate data, and the availability of a unique statewide longitudinal data set to answer robustly critical questions. Second, our focus on Noyce participants importantly addresses the need for rigorous research on teacher quality identifies direction for further exploration on retention. In addition, the results of this study may provide guidance to programs for developing structures that have increased likelihood of providing educational opportunities that lead to the production of successful teachers.

Posted on July 4, 2018