Texas A&M University Noyce Monitoring and Evaluation
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It is widely known that for K-12 students to obtain a high quality education in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) disciplines, they must have access to highly effective and highly qualified teachers. It is less known how to recruit and retain highly qualified and highly effective STEM teachers into the teaching profession, especially those individuals with strong STEM. The Robert Noyce Scholarship Program at Texas A&M University (TAMU), funded by the National Science Foundation, has addressed this issue by offering attractive scholarships, professional development, and other induction support to high achieving undergraduate students majoring in STEM fields who agree to teach in K-12 high-need schools after graduation. Since 2002, the Robert Noyce Program at TAMU has added over 60 STEM teachers to the teaching profession. Most of these Scholars are now teaching in high-need secondary schools and some are experienced teachers with five to ten years of teaching experience. These Noyce Scholars have valuable insight on many aspects of the teaching profession that may help uncover key components to recruiting, preparing, and retaining STEM teachers in the teaching profession. This study will follow 30 TAMU Noyce Scholars and 30 TAMU prepared teachers that did not receive Noyce Scholarships, all of whom completed the same teacher preparation program and are currently teaching in Texas high schools. The institutions involved in this Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Track I Phase II Monitoring and Evaluation study are TAMU and school districts located in four regions of Texas where Noyce Scholars and TAMU prepared STEM teachers are employed: Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, and Bryan/College Station. By comparing characteristics among and within these two groups, this project will focus on advancing the knowledge and understanding of best practices in STEM teacher recruitment, preparation, and retention. Researchers will investigate how participants'' perceptions regarding teaching in general and teaching in high-need schools evolve over time and how these perceptions differ within and between groups.This three-year research study will use a quasi-experimental, matched time series design that emphasizes both quantitative and qualitative results. Sixty participants will be recruited to form two groups, an experimental group consisting of 30 Noyce Scholars and a control group of similarly prepared teachers who did not receiving Noyce Scholarships. Quantitative data will be collected through classroom observations (two per year for three years), three annual surveys, and students? standardized test scores (assuming tests are mandated for the subject and grade level being taught). Qualitative data will be collected through annual semi-structured interviews and optional open-ended responses to the annual surveys. This data will be analyzed for similarities within groups, as well as differences among groups. Repeated measures, analysis of variance (ANOVA), multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) and other inferential statistics will be used to analyze the quantitative data. Qualitative data from the semi-structured interviews will be transcribed, coded, and triangulated in the analysis process. These multiple forms of data collection will allow for a more complete and thorough understanding of the differences, if any, between groups. The purpose of the project is to capture over time the characteristics of TAMU Noyce Scholars as they relate to persistence as a teacher, evolving perceptions of the profession and the performance of their K-12 students. This study will be guided by the following research questions: (1) How do the TAMU Noyce Scholars'' perceptions about teaching and teaching in high-need schools evolve over time and how do these perceptions differ from the control group? (2) What factors are involved in retaining TAMU Noyce Scholars in high-need schools and how do these factors differ from the control group? (3) What are the common characteristics in teaching behaviors, student outcomes, and overall classroom environments of the TAMU Noyce Scholars and how do these characteristics compare to the control group?