This project aims to investigate how to build a reliable high-quality supply of STEM teachers for high-need school districts. This work will contribute to the national need for educating a robust and diverse STEM workforce. The project will analyze whether and, if so, how scholarships provided by the Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program help to alleviate STEM teacher shortages. The project seeks also to provide insights about how to create partnerships between local school districts and higher education institutions. The collaborating institutions are in two populous states, and together serve both rural and urban school districts and cover multiple STEM disciplines. This research has the potential to raise awareness of challenges STEM teachers face in high-need settings and to suggest policy solutions to address these challenges. In addition, the project will contribute to understanding the influence of the Noyce program on the STEM teacher workforce.
This project involves three core research institutions (Texas State University, Florida Atlantic University, and The Brookings Institution) and four collaborating institutions with Noyce programs (Texas State University, University of Texas at Arlington, University of West Florida, and Florida International University). The project will mine local and national databases for patterns that uncover the impact of Noyce projects on the supply of STEM teachers in the school districts they serve. The project seeks to raise awareness of challenges specific to STEM teachers in high-need settings, generate evidence-based policy solutions, and promote a better understanding of how Noyce projects influence the STEM teacher workforce. Project research questions include: (1) What are the characteristics of STEM teachers in high-need school districts and how have these characteristics changed over time? (2) What factors are associated with STEM teacher retention and persistence in high-need school districts? (3) What types of district or school programs or policies are associated with stronger STEM workforce measures? (4) What is the estimated impact of proximity to the Noyce program on the STEM teacher workforce in high-need school districts? (5) Do high-need school districts with higher proportions of Noyce graduates perform better on student outcomes or experience smaller race- or poverty-based gaps than other high-need school districts with fewer Noyce graduates? (6) What are the demographics and qualifications of the STEM teacher candidate pool, and how do they change during the training process? (7) Do different programs have varying levels of success getting candidates through their programs? (8) How do local high-need school districts perceive teachers coming from Noyce institutions? The research team will use secondary data and collect primary data to examine these questions. Secondary data will include several nationally representative surveys on teachers, schools, school districts, and principals administered by the National Center on Education Statistics. New primary data will be generated through interviews at collaborating institutions with Noyce programs and through the administration of an alumni survey. The research team will also work with collaborating Noyce institutions to extract and analyze program data on the selection and matriculation of teacher candidates. This Track 4: Noyce Research project is supported through the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program (Noyce). The Noyce program supports talented STEM undergraduate majors and professionals to become effective K-12 STEM teachers and experienced, exemplary K-12 STEM teachers to become STEM master teachers in high-need school districts. It also supports research on the persistence, retention, and effectiveness of K-12 STEM teachers in high-need school districts.
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.