- Year 2023
- NSF Noyce Award # 2151045
- First Name Jeanna
- Last Name Wieselmann
- Discipline STEM Education (general)
Deepika Menon, University of Nebraska – Lincoln; Sarah Haines, Towson University; Sumreen Asim, Indiana University Southeast
There are limited professional development (PD) opportunities for inservice teachers (ISTs) to engage in learning about integrated STEM (iSTEM) instruction (Luft et al., 2020), and preservice teacher (PST) preparation programs have also been slow to adapt to the demands of iSTEM (Bartels et al., 2019). In addition, iSTEM teaching self-efficacy remains under-researched, so little is known about how to support teachers’ self-efficacy development within iSTEM contexts. Further, it is unknown whether links between self-efficacy, effectiveness, and retention hold true with respect to iSTEM teaching among elementary teachers. The Research on Integrated STEM Efficacy (RISE) project seeks to address these gaps in the research literature.
We address the research questions: 1. How does iSTEM teaching self-efficacy change during the preservice years and first five years of teaching? 2. What elements of teacher preparation programs and professional learning opportunities contribute to the iSTEM teaching self-efficacy of preservice and early-career teachers? 3. Do the links between self-efficacy beliefs, teacher effectiveness, and teacher retention hold true within iSTEM contexts?
This study will utilize a sequential explanatory mixed methods design, with the collection of quantitative data informing the next qualitative phase (Creswell & Plano Clark, 2011). We started with an initial quantitative phase in which baseline self-efficacy and self-reported effectiveness (based on teaching practices) data were collected. Analysis of these data are guiding the subsequent qualitative data collection by informing our selection of participants for teaching observations and interviews. We intend to use purposeful heterogeneity sampling (Patton, 2015) to ensure that the selected participants represent a range of self-efficacy and effectiveness levels to generate findings that can be considered representative of the wide variety of early-career teachers. Both qualitative and quantitative data collection will be ongoing throughout the five project years to allow for longitudinal analyses.
Outcomes from this work will include a set of empirical recommendations for preservice and inservice teacher education experiences that support iSTEM teaching self-efficacy development, which has the potential to influence teacher effectiveness, retention, instructional practices, and subsequently, STEM literacy among K-12 students. We are currently in the first project year, so we have begun preliminary analyses and will share these findings in our poster presentation.
Even as STEM education is increasingly emphasized, challenges related to insufficient elementary teacher preparation in iSTEM, as well as attrition from the teaching profession, persist across the United States. High-need schools in particular face challenges in recruiting and retaining highly-qualified teachers. RISE aims to identify programmatic features that support PST and IST self-efficacy in teaching iSTEM within high-need elementary schools. These features can be used to shape preservice teacher education program design and inform resource allocation and professional learning designs for ISTs. Our research will identify patterns in elementary teachers’ iSTEM teaching self-efficacy over time, providing insight into key points when self-efficacy ebbs, which can be used to design interventions that better support teachers and potentially prevent attrition. These findings will be useful to teacher preparation programs, schools, and school districts looking to support their elementary teachers’ self-efficacy, effectiveness, and retention. In addition, we aim to determine whether there is a quantitative link between self-efficacy, teacher effectiveness, and disposition to remain in teaching. By understanding self-efficacy as a mechanism that relates to effectiveness and retention, teacher preparation programs and professional learning opportunities can be tailored to specifically target self-efficacy development as a way of increasing effectiveness and retention. Research findings will be published in research and practitioner journals and shared widely at international conferences to impact researchers, administrators, and educators beyond the immediate scope of this project. In addition, we will conduct both virtual and in-person workshops focused on improving iSTEM instructional practices to support elementary teachers’ development of iSTEM teaching skills and self-efficacy.