- Year 2019
- NSF Noyce Award # 1660810
- First Name Deidre
- Last Name Sessoms
- Discipline Other: STEM Education
Jenna Porter, California State University, Sacramento, firstname.lastname@example.org; Sanlyn Buxner, University of Arizona, email@example.com; Deidre Sessoms, California State University, Sacramento, firstname.lastname@example.org
While studies have been published that examine the effectiveness of Noyce Scholarship Programs to recruit STEM teachers, despite the long-standing support of the federal government of the Noyce Programs, few studies have examined the success of the program to improve science teacher preparation or effectiveness. We know from research that demographic characteristics have a relationship with persistence in STEM and with persistence/experience in teacher preparation programs, especially in primarily non-MSI (Minority Serving Institutions). This study examines the relationship and interactions between Noyce support and three demographic characteristics (1) gender, (2) race/ethnicity (those who identify with a race/ethnicity that is Under-Represented in STEM- URiS), and (3) socio-economic status (Pell eligibility), with teacher preparedness as measured by a high stakes teacher performance assessment.
Our study seeks to answer the following questions: 1. To what extent are science preservice teachers (PSTs) who received Noyce support prepared for the responsibilities of teaching compared to those who did not receive Noyce support? 2. To what extent do individual demographic characteristics of gender, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic status interact with Noyce participation when examining preservice teachers? (PSTs) preparedness as measured by the Performance Assessment for California Teachers (PACT)? 3. What, if any interactions are there between Noyce support and multiple demographic characteristics (gender, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic status) for teacher preparedness as measured by PACT?
A total of 93 science PSTs (22 Noyce and 71 non-Noyce) were compared using the Performance Assessment for California Teachers (PACT) as standardized measure of teacher preparedness. PACT scores were not be normally distributed. The Mann-Whitney test addressed Research Question 1. A subgroup of non-Noyce was selected by matching demographic characteristics; we report results of Noyce (n=22) compared to Total non-Noyce (n=71) as well as the Paired Sample non-Noyce (n=22). In addition to tests for significant differences, we calculated effect sizes (Cohen’s d for non-parametric tests) to help interpret results with relatively small sample sizes. For Questions 2 and 3 we used linear regression models for each PACT domain that included effects of demographic characteristics, as well as two and three-way interactions. In addition, we report descriptive statistics and conducted tests for significant differences between groups when significant interactions were found in the regression analyses.
A statistically significant difference was found in the Academic Language domain; Noyce PSTs scored higher than both Total and Paired non-Noyce. Noyce PSTs also performed slightly better than non-Noyce across most demographic characteristics. Within Noyce and non-Noyce, there were non-existent or small effect sizes when comparing PACT scores between demographic characteristics except within the Noyce group, a medium effect size was found for the difference between PSTs who are Under-Represented in STEM (URiS) and non-URiS, in Assessment. These results suggest no bias of PACT scores for the three demographic categories (gender, URiS, SES). Linear regressions for each PACT domain revealed several three-way interactions of demographics with Noyce support particular to Noyce, gender, and Pell. Among female, Pell eligible PSTs, there were significant differences between Noyce and non-Noyce for PACT domains in Planning, Assessment, and Average scores; Noyce PSTs scored higher than non-Noyce.
In general, our findings suggest that PSTs who received Noyce support are better prepared to support their own students in Academic Language than those who didn’t receive Noyce support. In particular, among Noyce participants, there were significant differences between females who were Pell eligible and non-Pell eligible in Planning (large effect size), Assessment (large effect size), and a non significant large effect size difference in the PACT Average score. For non-Noyce, there were no significant or large effect sizes between females for Pell and non-Pell. This study contributes to the literature on the effects of the Noyce program on science teacher preparedness to teach.