- Year 2016
- NSF Noyce Award # 1540802
- First Name Regina
- Last Name Toolin
- Discipline Mathematics, Science Education
Carmen Petrick Smith, University of Vermont; Ting Tang, University of Vermont; Rory Waterman, University of Vermont
Regina Toolin and Maia Hansen
As globalization and technological innovations continue to transform economic, cultural, social, and educational arenas worldwide, the need for students and teachers to be increasingly STEM literate continues to be of paramount importance in the 21st century. State and national achievement results for science and mathematics demonstrate lackluster gains over the past few years for K-12 students overall. Results of the New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) for science and mathematics demonstrated that 56% elementary students, 75% middle level students and 70% high school students in Vermont did not meet proficiency standards for science (VT AOE, 2014). In 2013, NECAP mathematics results revealed that 38% of elementary and middle level students and 75% of high school students did not meet proficiency standards for mathematics (VT AOE, 2014). When the data are disaggregated for low-income students based on participation in free and reduced lunch programs, the results were even more alarming with respective rates of 73%, 89%, and 86% not meeting proficiency standards for science and 53% and 82% not meeting proficiency standards for mathematics (VT AOE, 2014). Taken together, these results raise critical questions about science and mathematics achievement for all K-12 students, particularly those from high poverty and underrepresented groups. The University of Vermont’s (UVM) Robert Noyce Scholarship Program seeks to address these urgent issues and questions in STEM achievement and education through the development of a Track 1 Phase 2 proposal that will award 25 stipends over a 5-year period to qualified STEM majors and professionals enrolled in the Master of Arts in Teaching in Secondary Education Program in the College of Education and Social Services.
The long-term goals of UVM’s Noyce Project are 1.) to broaden the participation of STEM majors and professionals in the STEM teaching profession, specifically in chemistry, biology, physics, Earth science, and mathematics and 2.) to study the impact of the Noyce Program on teacher and student learning and the STEM and education programs involved in preparing these teachers. These goals are driven by evidence of weak increases in math and science achievement nationally and an overall decline in math and science achievement in the State of Vermont
The goals of UVM’s Noyce Program will be achieved in the following ways:
Goal 1: RECRUIT STEM majors and professionals into the MAT and Noyce Scholars Programs
** Engage UVM UG STEM classes in ongoing recruitment presentations by faculty and present scholars to inform undergraduates of the MAT and Noyce Programs as well as options for STEM teaching as a viable career path.
** Actively recruit math majors and professionals into the Noyce Program through presentations at in UG mathematics classes.
** Engage UG STEM organizations (American Society of Civil Engineers, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, UVM Biochemistry Society, UVM Chem Cats, UVM Society of Physics Students, UVM Math Club, etc) to promote STEM teaching as a career option.
** Engage ALANA student union and minority-serving clubs (e.g., Society of Women Engineers) to promote STEM teaching as a career option. Direct email solicitation about the MAT and Noyce to these groups.
** Advertise locally and regionally through STEM departments, the Graduate College and UVM’s Noyce websites, as well as through direct marketing to local media (radio ** Host a joint MAT and Noyce Open House in the fall to inform undergraduates and STEM professionals of the MAT and Noyce Program requirements and application process.
Goal 2: PREPARE STEM preservice teachers for 21st Century teaching in high need schools.
** Engage Noyce MAT students in UVM’s CAEP-accredited, nationally recognized teacher education program that includes a full-year internship in a high-need high school.
** Engage all Noyce scholars in a collaborative service-learning project with a focus on engineering design principles and practices between the Noyce Program and Co-PI Tan’s Mechanics of Materials class.
** Engage Noyce Scholars in an orientation program at the Rubenstein Ecosystem Science Laboratories on Lake Champlain to outline program criteria, to initiate community-building activities amongst the scholars, and to introduce the scholars to the science research and resources available at the Rubenstein Laboratories.
** Engage Noyce scholars in ongoing monthly seminars facilitated by PIs Toolin and Waterman that includes presentations by STEM high quality teachers, and UVM scientists, mathematicians and engineers. This will also include seminars on topics that pertain to new teacher development, development of teacher learning communities (TLCs), teaching in high-need schools, the STEM job search, etc.
** Engage Noyce Scholars in fieldtrips to university and community-based STEM centers such as UVM research and engineering facilities, NRG Wind Energy plant, ECHO Science Center, UVM’s Research Vessel -Melosira RV to enrich the overall STEM experiences for students.
** Invite Noyce scholars and alumni to present their research and curriculum projects at the Vermont Science Teachers Association Annual Meeting and Noyce regional and national conferences.
Goal 3: RETAIN Noyce Scholars in the MAT Program and Noyce Teachers in STEM teaching
** Invite Noyce scholar alumni to participate in the Vermont STEM Collaborative (See: vstem.w3.uvm.edu) a consortium of STEM faculty, Vermont Agency of Education staff, STEM teachers, STEM non-profits and businesses that meet eight times a year to provide STEM PD and support STEM education initiatives statewide.
** Support Noyce scholars for two years after MAT degree completion to participate in ongoing STEM professional development such as the Satellites, Weather and Climate (SWAC) Teacher Professional Development Program (See: www.uvm.edu/~swac ), the Champlain Research Experience for Secondary Teachers (CREST) (See: http://www.uvm.edu/~doe/?Page=crest.html) and other STEM professional development programs that are in proximity to the high need school district where they are employed.
** Invite Noyce scholar teachers to conduct presentations and serve as mentors for future Noyce cohorts.
Goal 4. Develop and Implement a Longitudinal Study on Recruitment, Retention and Learning
** Collect professional learning and performance data on previous cohort of Noyce Scholars
** Collect professional learning and performance data on current cohort of Noyce Scholars
** Develop and publish profiles of both cohorts of Noyce Scholars in comparison with regular MAT contemporary cohorts.
** Develop and publish recommendations for professional program improvement based on findings of the case studies.
Over the past six years, UVM’s Robert Noyce Scholarship Program (DUE: 0934714, Period: 9/1/09-8/31/15) awarded 25 stipends to STEM majors and professionals enrolled in the MAT in Secondary Education Program, one Noyce scholarship to an undergraduate STEM major, and 34 stipends to undergraduate STEM majors who have participated in the Noyce Summer Research Program. All 2010–2014 Noyce Scholars have completed MAT program requirements and secured licensure in a STEM teaching field with 18 of these teachers currently teaching in high need schools in the United States, 5 currently enrolled in the MAT Program working toward licensure in a STEM discipline, 2 teaching science in non-high need schools and one teaching in higher education.
As an outcome of our focus on Noyce recruitment and retention and project-based learning in STEM education, we have delivered 4 peer-reviewed conference papers, 4 workshops and 8 poster presentations at regional and national conferences (including Noyce regional and national, ASTE regional and national and AERA international conferences) and published 2 papers pertaining to the Noyce Scholars and Summer Research Programs:
1.) Roering, A. J.; Elrod, L. T.; Pagano, J. K.; Guillot, S. L.; Chan, S. M.; Tanski, J. M.; Waterman, R. A General, Zirconium-Mediated Synthesis of Phosphaalkenes with Liberation of Phosphaformamides Dalton Trans. 2013, 42, 1159–1167.
2.) Toolin, R. & White, B. (2014). How loud is too loud? Project-based Inquiry as a Model for Teaching, Learning, and Assessing Science. Preparing Excellent STEM Teachers for Urban and Rural High-Need Schools, proceedings from the 2010, 2011, and 2012 Midwest Noyce Regional Conferences. (Invited paper).
In terms of enrollment, the number of graduate students that enrolled in the MAT Program in science education increased from 19 students during the period between 2005-2009 to 37 students during the period between 2010-2015. In addition to focusing on recruitment, preparation and retention of science teachers, a key goal for this new submission is to increase the number of mathematics teachers who complete the MAT program, earn licensure in mathematics, and remain in the mathematics teaching profession over time. This goal will be accomplished by actively recruiting and supporting STEM candidates from within and outside of UVM and STEM professions and by studying the impact of program effectiveness on recruitment, retention and student learning as well as the impact that the program has on UVM’s STEM and education departments.
The education and STEM programs involved in the previous Noyce proposal have significantly benefitted from the Noyce grant in many ways. First, collaborations between STEM and education faculty from across UVM have forged new programs and initiatives at the university. For example, the collaboration between STEM and education faculty to conduct the Noyce orientation program at the Rubenstein Ecosystem Science Labs and research experiences aboard UVM’s Melosira RV have resulted in the development of a new inservice teacher professional development program called the Champlain Research Experience for Secondary Teachers (CREST) (Co-PIs Toolin and Stockwell) funded by a federal GEAR-UP grant. Now in its second year of implementation, 5 former Noyce scholars have participated in the first year of the CREST Program. Second, PI Toolin and Co-PI Waterman have been involved in a number of new STEM education initiatives including a new Math Science Partnership grant (submitted February 2015) and the development of the Vermont STEM Collaborative. Third, Co-PI Waterman has been instrumental in communicating with colleagues in the STEM disciplines and departments about Noyce initiatives and programs as well as assisting in Noyce recruitment presentations in undergraduate STEM classes at UVM. Fourth, PI Toolin has collaborated with UVM’s EPSCoR director and staff in developing middle school and high school outreach programs as part of this NSF-funded EPSCoR program at UVM. Fifth, PI Toolin and Co-PI Dupigny-Giroux continue to recruit and provide professional learning experiences for K-12 teachers as part of the NSF-funded SWAC (Satellites, Weather and Climate) Program that now includes the participation of former Noyce scholars who are teaching in regional schools.
These results and the annual external evaluation of the Noyce Program over the past 6 years have informed the development of the proposed project in various ways. External program evaluations revealed that the requirements for undergraduate STEM majors were far too demanding for students to complete a dual major in STEM and education resulting in only one biochemistry major receiving Noyce scholarship support in his senior year and for the MAT Program the following year. We also found that a substantial number (n=13) of our Noyce scholars preferred to complete their undergraduate STEM degree at UVM and then apply to the MAT and Noyce programs in their 5th year. This is essentially the rationale for why in this new proposal we have discontinued scholarship funding for undergraduate STEM majors.
The plan to expand and extend the Noyce program initiated under the prior award include various new activities and initiatives. First, with the adoption of the Common Core in Mathematics (CC-M) and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) by the State of Vermont, we have fully aligned our education programs to promote the core knowledge, performances and practices advocated by these new curriculum standards and frameworks. Second, as previously discussed we will shift our recruitment efforts to include mathematics majors and professionals in this new Noyce program. Third, we will engage the efforts of student STEM professional and ALANA organizations in recruiting a new cohort of diverse Noyce scholars into the MAT Program. Fourth, to promote deeper understanding of engineering design thinking and practices advocated by the NGSS, we will engage all Noyce scholars in a collaborative service-learning project amongst Noyce scholars and Co-PI Tan’s Mechanics of Materials class. Fifth, we have partnered with the University of Florida’s STEM-TIPS online professional development platform (See: stemtips.education.ufl.edu) and will enroll all Noyce Scholars in this program during and after program completion for a total of 3 years of membership. Sixth, Noyce scholars will be invited to join the new Vermont STEM Collaborative, a consortium of STEM and education faculty, teachers, state agency staff, informal educators and businesses that seeks to promote STEM education initiatives and professional development program across Vermont. Seventh, we will support Noyce scholars for two years after MAT degree completion to participate in ongoing STEM professional development programs at UVM and/or other STEM institutions and organizations.
The plan to expand and extend the evaluation and research activities initiated under the prior award includes a longitudinal study of the prior award graduates to measure the impact on individuals supported under the first award as teachers and teacher leaders, their completion of the service commitment and their retention in the teaching profession by conducting individual case studies of each graduate.