Preparing for the Future of the STEM Teacher Workforce in the 21st Century: Leveraging Multi-contextual Evidence
Effective Years: 2022-2025
This project aims to identify trends in the demographics and turnover behavior of the STEM teacher workforce. It focuses on specific remedies and investments needed to retain prospective teachers in high-need schools, especially rural communities, and to improve outcomes for their students. The project includes two complementary studies, one using the National Teacher and Principal Survey (an update from the earlier Schools and Staffing Survey) and a second, using longitudinal administrative data from the states of Kansas and Missouri. The project will explore a range of questions, including: how STEM teacher demographics, turnover intentions, and actual turnover may have changed nationally due to the COVID-19 pandemic; and how the Great Recession of 2007-08 and the COVID-19 pandemic may have influenced teacher outcomes. This body of research will produce insights to inform actionable recruitment and retention practices for high-need school districts and future research focused on teacher labor markets.
The conceptual framework and proposed analyses build upon a model of teacher turnover that suggests three main categories of factors that drive teacher turnover: teacher factors, school factors, and external factors and events. Leveraging this framework, the investigators group the research questions and analyses into three broad themes: STEM teacher characteristics, the school and student characteristics in which STEM teachers are employed, and contemporary secular trends that impact STEM teachers. They also consider the interplay between the STEM teacher characteristics and the school context in which STEM teachers work. The investigating team will employ descriptive and regression analyses to answer the research questions. Across interconnected lines of inquiry, the researchers will balance national generalizability with comprehensive state-specific application to inform current and future practice, policy, and research.
This project is supported by the EHR Core Research(ECR) program. The ECR program emphasizes fundamental STEM education research that generates foundational knowledge in the field. Investments are made in critical areas that are essential, broad and enduring: STEM learning and STEM learning environments, broadening participation in STEM, and STEM workforce development. The program supports the accumulation of robust evidence to inform efforts to understand, build theory to explain, and suggest intervention and innovations to address persistent issues in STEM education.
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.