the importance of partnerships and data collection in long term

46th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (2015)
Department of Science/Mathematics Education at the University of Texas at Dallas, 800 West Campbell Road FN
33, Richardson, TX, 75080, [email protected], 2William B. Hanson Center for Space Sciences, The University
of Texas at Dallas
Introduction: As noted in reports such as Rising
Above the Gathering Storm [1,2] the United States is
facing a crisis with regard to the preparation of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics
(STEM) workforce. In response, the Committee on
STEM Education (Co-STEM) of the National Science
and Technology Committee released the Federal
STEM Education 5-Year Stategic Plan [3]. CoSTEM’s recommendations include the recruitment and
preparation of 100,000 K–12 STEM teachers and
strengthening of current STEM teachers. Accountability and demonstrating results for funders, be they state,
federal, or private, is not new. However, Co-STEM
places increased pressure on federally funded education efforts, such as those for NASA, to demonstrate
measureable outcomes of success.
In the Department of Science/Mathematics Education (SME) in the School of Natural Sciences and
Mathematics (NS&M) at the University of Texas at
Dallas (UTD), we have several programs to prepare
pre-service teachers and serve and strengthen the capabilities of in-service teachers. Here I describe the nature of these programs, the data collection challenges
and requirements, and efforts to meet those challenges
through partnerships with teachers, individual schools,
school districts, and state and national parent organizations.
Programs in Science/Mathematics Education:
Programs in SME fall into two broad categories, with
significant overlap: 1) Academic programs that represent the primary mission of a university, and 2) Outreach programs that require neither enrollment at the
university nor formal courses for participation.
Preparation of Secondary Science and Math
Teachers: The UTeach Dallas program [4] is a replication of the original nationally acclaimed UTeach model
[5] at the University of Texas at Austin. UTeach Dallas
began in 2007 with a $2.4 million high-fidelity replication grant from the National Math and Science Initiative [6] and Texas Education Agency (TEA) [7]. The
program currently has over 350 students and 90 graduates with a 100% placement rate for graduates seeking
local teaching positions and a >90% teaching retention
rate. Students experience teaching first hand starting as
early as their first semester at the university. Recruitment of STEM majors involves offering a trial of the
two one-credit hour introductory courses for teacher
certification with reimbursable tuition. UTeach
coursework is pedagogy focused rather than STEM
content focused. A Phase II NSF Robert F. Noyce
Teacher Scholarship program [8] assists in supporting
and retaining upper-level STEM majors in completing
degrees and certification. Partnerships for UTeach Dallas include the STEM discipline departments in NS&M
and five Title I [9] school districts as well as other
school districts, individual schools, and teachers.
Long-Term Professional Development (PD) of Science and Mathematics Teachers. The longest running
SME academic programs are the Master of Arts in
Teaching (MAT) programs in Science Education and
Mathematics Education. Teachers enrolling in Science
Education have a wide variety of backgrounds, from
little initial science content, to STEM degrees in fields
other than subject taught (such as an individual with a
biology degree teaching physics), to those with undergraduate and/or graduate degrees in subject taught
[10]. The majority of math MAT students have historically held a content degree in mathematics, which is
changing as the grade level focus broadens. The focus
of both MAT programs is on strengthening content
knowledge concurrently with pedagogical content
knowledge along with educational technology, research, and leadership skills.
A complementary outreach program to the MAT in
Science Education is the UT Dallas Collaborative for
Excellence in Science Teaching (the UTD TRC). The
UTD TRC is competitively funded on an annual basis
by the Texas Regional Collaboratives for Excellence in
Science and Mathematics Teaching (TRC) [11]. The
TRC is a network of 58 programs throughout the state,
which have common requirements of:
• At least 100 contact hours of contentfocused PD for primary participants
known as Teacher Mentors (TMs)
• Annual STEM content focus areas selected in coordination with TEA
• Formal university and K-12 partnerships
• Mentoring of additional teachers by TMs
• Data collection
Funds are provided per teacher, with each program
determining the nature of expenditures within specific
guidelines. In the case of the UTD TRC, funds provide
tuition assistance for select MAT courses, training ma-
46th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (2015)
terials, K–12 classroom materials, teacher stipends,
opportunities for teacher conference attendance, and
some salary support and training for the instructional
team. Most UTD TRC professional development is
provided in the summer and weekends by SME faculty
outside of courses. The TRC requires grantees to maintain formal partnerships with university STEM faculty
and at least three high-needs (Title I) school districts.
UTeach Dallas Induction provides up to three
years of support for graduates from UTeach Dallas and
other UTeach programs teaching in the Dallas/Fort
Worth area. Induction consists of one-on-one in-school
visits by an Induction Coordinator, access to lesson
plans and instructional resources in SME, and organized workshops held approximately one Saturday
morning per month. The UTD TRC and UTeach Dallas Induction partner to provide joint workshop opportunities for teachers in the two programs.
Education and Public Outreach. The UTD TRC
and UTeach Dallas Induction are parts of the outreach
mission of SME that provides long-term PD to STEM
teachers. In addition, SME is partnered with the William B. Hanson Center for Space Sciences on the Education and Public Outreach (EPO) for the small NASA
Coupled Ion Neutral Dynamics Investigation (CINDI)
Mission of Opportunity [12]. CINDI EPO has partnered with the MAT [13] and UTD TRC as well as
with SME outreach programs for K-12 students such
as the Women in Physics Camps [14].
Data Collection and Partnerships: For academic
programs data collection is for instructional purposes,
programmic evaluation, and state or accreditation monitoring requirements. The focus is, by necessity, on
instruction and student learning as well as performance
outcomes in university or K-12 field experience settings. Faculty monitor student learning through a variety of methods including both in-house created assessments and research-based tools developed by the
STEM Discipline-Based Education Research communities and teaching performance for pre-service teachers on standardized observation tools.
For programs such as UTeach Dallas and the UTD
TRC, data collection is primarily driven by grant requirements and parent organizations, which serve as
partners and performance monitors. The UTeach Institute oversees UTeach replication, and collects survey
data as well as programmatic data on demographics,
student performance, and retention in program and
post graduation. This data has proved essential in
demonstrating effectiveness for the UTeach Institute’s
and UTeach Dallas’ continued fundraising efforts with
both public and private funders. Maintaining contact
with graduates through induction and beyond has
proved invaluable in data collection efforts.
A deeper level of individualized data collection is
required by the NSF Noyce Program. UTeach Dallas
must collect additional data on individual internship
and scholarship recipients, and track the latter for several years post graduation. Separate survey data is also
collected for Noyce participants by an external evaluator, raising concerns of multiple frequent surveys to the
same population impacting quality and quantity of
The TRC requires extensive data collection from
UTD TRC participants and continuous monitoring of
program performance and progress towards required
objectives. Every teacher participant is input into the
project database, with personal demographic data.
Pre/post test data, TRC surveys, a yes or no on consent
to participate in research, and classroom demographic
data are required of all TMs. All TMs in state assessment tested grade levels must provide aggregated student performance data with at least five schools reporting for entire tested grade levels. Aggregated data is
then compiled statewide for reporting to funding agencies. Non-fiscal project monitoring data includes agendas and sign-in sheets, links to participants and hours
earned, and content providers for each PD session.
Implications: Data collection to measure program
impacts for both pre-service and in-service teachers is
critical to demonstration of success and requires a coordinated effort. An important consideration for inservice teacher programs is that measuring impacts on
teacher effectiveness depends heavily on partnerships
with local schools and districts. When working with
K–12 teachers, student outcomes are an important data
source for universities and outside agencies – yet also
challenging and potentially expensive to acquire. With
the UTD TRC, we rely primarily on teacher or gradelevel aggregated student state testing data, when available. Access to such data requires agreements with
teachers, schools, and school districts. Periodic classroom observations, benchmark data for student performance, and comparison groups would provide a
clearer picture of the impacts of PD. However, these
data sources have implications for privacy concerns for
both teachers and students thus requiring a deeper level
of partnership between providers and K–12 schools.
References: [1] NRC (2007). [2] NRC (2010).
[4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] Urquhart M. L. and Montgomery H. A. (2012) LPS
XXXXIII, Abstract #2324. [11] [12] [13] Urquhart M. L.
(2007) LPS XXXVIII, Abstract #2094. [14]