Developing the STEM Workforce: Career Pathways of Math and Science Teachers in Texas and Washington after the COVID-19 Pandemic
Effective Years: 2021-2024
The University of Washington is conducting an interdisciplinary research project that analyzes math and science teacher career pathways using longitudinal statewide data from Washington and Texas and the Baccalaureate and Beyond (B&B) Longitudinal Study dataset. There are three project objectives: (1) To inform evidence-based policies and practices for improving the math and science teacher workforce by studying the long-term career paths of those who leave teaching, (2) To build an infrastructure for using “big data” to conduct rigorous and policy-relevant education research across two parallel statewide longitudinal data systems, and (3) establish a diverse community of scholars to carry out data-intensive research. The investigators will implement a set of studies that explore math and science teacher career paths – tracking teachers across schools and from education into other sectors of the economy – to provide a deeper understanding of the factors that affect the development of STEM teachers. The project will provide empirical evidence to describe K-12 teacher career pathways and attrition, including attrition resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, and inform workforce policies.
Investigators will use the Roy model of occupational choice to guide the research questions and analytic approach. The model offers several predictions for the teacher labor market and competing non-teacher labor markets. The dataset used for the project will be generated using raw data provided through the University of Texas at Austin Educational Research Center and the Washington Education Research Data Center and the B&B datasets. Analyses conducted for the project will include separate but identical parallel analyses for each state. The research questions examine (1) patterns in math and science teacher mobility along three dimensions, (2) the extent to which existing teachers earn higher salaries after leaving teaching, and (3) the relationships between salaries and perceived working conditions and teachers’ career path decisions. Data will be analyzed using descriptive statistics, mapping software to construct interactive maps in each state, and regression. The findings will be disseminated broadly to key stakeholders including state policy makers.
This project is funded by the EHR Core Research (ECR) program, which supports work that advances fundamental research on STEM learning and learning environments, broadening participation in STEM, and STEM workforce development.
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.