- Year 2019
- NSF Noyce Award # 1439914
- First Name Ann
- Last Name Cavallo
- Discipline Computer Science, Mathematics, Other: Sciences
Gregory Hale, The University of Texas at Arlington, firstname.lastname@example.org; Ramon Lopez, The University of Texas at Arlington, email@example.com; James Alvarez, The University of Texas at Arlington, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ann Cavallo, The University of Texas at Arlington, email@example.com; Gregory Hale, The University of Texas at Arlington, firstname.lastname@example.org; Ramon Lopez, The University of Texas at Arlington, email@example.com; James Alvarez, The University of Texas at Arlington,
Our national education community is keenly aware of the critical need for science and mathematics teachers. The shortage of science and mathematics teachers is most severe in high-poverty urban and rural districts, where more than 700,000 new teachers are needed in the next 10 years (National Center for Education Statistics, 2014). Further, reports on teacher shortages indicate that secondary students in the US have only a 40% chance of being taught science by a teacher who majored in that field (National Academy of Sciences, 2007). The percentage of out-of-field teaching in STEM is highest in urban, high poverty schools. Equally concerning is the large number of STEM teachers who leave the teaching profession, creating even greater teacher shortages in our schools that cannot be easily filled. These issues underscore the immediate need to recruit, prepare, and importantly, retain highly qualified teachers in science and mathematics to teach in high need school districts where they are most needed.
The purposes of this research and evaluation on the UTA Noyce program are to: 1. Investigate the effectiveness of recruitment of science and mathematics teachers through the Noyce Program. 2. Describe the activities and qualities of the Noyce teacher preparation and induction programs and analyze teacher shifts in their skills and perspectives toward teaching in high need schools. 3. Examine the retention of Noyce graduates in teaching and factors that may relate to their retention, or their attrition from teaching.
Purpose 1. a. Demographic information is gathered from participants via questionnaire, and statistics generated to determine the results and effectiveness of the recruitment efforts. b. Statistics are generated on teachers after they have completed the program, and every year for six years or more after beginning the program to determine the numbers who have remained in the teaching profession, and those who have also remained in high need schools. Candidates are contacted (electronically, by mail, and by phone) every year to determine their career status. Purposes 2 and 3. The evaluation/research administers questionnaires with Likert-format and open-ended questions at the beginning of the program for each cohort group, to reveal new Scholar’s primary views and practices of teaching, self-efficacy toward teaching their subject, views about the nature of science and mathematics, and expectations of the program and the teaching profession. The questionnaires are again administered upon completion of their degree and teacher certification (mid-program); and a third time after one year of teaching in a high need school district. The data is analyzed to reveal possible shifts over time in the measured variables. Instruments used are those found reliable and valid as published in the literature (Liu & Tsai, 2008; Riggs & Enochs, 2000), along with some instruments used in the PIs prior research (Cavallo & Wood, 2005; Cavallo, Ferreira, & Roberts, 2005). b. The project collects key assessments from students representing their learning as aligned with NSTA and NCTM standards. Students post these assessments/assignments on an electronic data management site, TK20. The key assessments are evaluated according to rubrics, and are analyzed according to the level of professional skill represented in the students’ work. These data are analyzed for evidence of achievement of quality teaching in our program. c. Longitudinal data are collected to explore the long-term effects of the program on the quality of participants’ teaching practices. In addition a survey is given to the graduated teaching Scholar’s school-based Mentor Teachers where they are asked to assess the Scholar’s teaching. d. Retention in teaching data is collected from all scholars, including their completion of a questionnaire on reasons they chose to remain in teaching or leave the profession.
The Noyce program along with the UTeach Arlington program at the University of Texas at Arlington have made a major impact on STEM teaching and learning in the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metropolitan area and beyond. The data indicate a five-fold increase in science and mathematics teachers certified through these programs who are specifically prepared with the pedagogical content knowledge and skills for teaching their STEM subject in high-need schools. Preliminary questionnaire data analyses reveals positive shifts in self-efficacy toward teaching, views of the nature of the disciplines through the program. In addition, preliminary data indicate shifts in Noyce Scholars’ perspectives on teaching from direct, lecture-based teaching to inquiry and project/problem based instruction. Findings indicate Noyce teacher graduates receive positive appraisals of their teaching from Mentor Teachers, and are highly dedicated to the profession. Available, preliminary data on our Noyce graduates indicate over 80% are teaching in economically disadvantaged schools/school districts beyond their required years of teaching. Future research will continue to examine factors related to retention in the teaching profession. We plan to also investigate the impact of our Noyce Scholar teachers on their students’ achievement and possible influence on their students to pursue STEM careers. The data and trends in findings to be presented here set the foundation for future research.
Now on our fourth Noyce program, UTA has 153 Noyce Scholars, with the majority currently teaching. With each teaching 5 classes per day, and estimating 25 students per class, over 19,000 disadvantaged students are taught/will soon be taught by our highly qualified Noyce Scholar teachers per year, and that number grows every year. The need for highly qualified STEM teachers is a persistent problem in Texas and across the US. We cannot afford to lose the talents of millions of students who have great potential and passion for STEM fields because they do not have skilled STEM teachers they desperately need and deserve.The Noyce program at UTA addresses this issue by establishing this impactful program in the DFW Metroplex where there is significant need in our own neighboring school districts. We are already witnessing students of our Noyce Scholar teachers enrolling at UTA as STEM majors who report they did so because they were educated and positively influenced by their teachers. As we continue to graduate new teachers, the positive influence on secondary school students will continue to grow, guiding the next generation toward STEM careers.