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«2004 AIR RESEARCH GRANT PROPOSAL Finding Leakage in the Pipeline of Teacher Supply: Factors Influencing Youngsters to Aspire to and Stay in Teaching ...»

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Finding Leakage in the Pipeline of Teacher Supply: Factors Influencing Youngsters to

Aspire to and Stay in Teaching Careers

NELS: 88-2000

Grant Amount Requested: $25,968

Principal Investigator:

Wei-Cheng J. Mau


Wichita State University

1845 Fairmount, Wichita, KS 67260-0123

Phone: (316) 978-3326; Fax: (316) 978-3102



Randy Ellsworth

Professor & Associate Dean Wichita State University Wichita, KS 67260-0131 Phone: (316) 978-3301; Fax: (316) 978-3302 randy.ellsworth@wichita.edu Co-Investigator Donna J. Hawley Professor and Director of Institutional Research Wichita State University Wichita, Kansas, 67260-0041 Phone: 316- 978-3015; FAX: 316-978-3016 E-mail: donna.hawley@wichita.edu

Authorized Institutional Representative:

Gerald Loper, Assoc. Vice President for Research Office of Research Administration Wichita State University Wichita, KS 67260 Gerald.loper@wichita.edu ______________________________ _____________________________

Principal Investigator Authorized Institutional Representative ______________________________ _____________________________

Co-Principal Investigator Co-Principal Investigator Project summary The “No Child Left Behind Act” requires that by the end of the 2005-2006 school year, every classroom in America must have a teacher who is “highly qualified” (U.S. Department of Education, 2002). The problem is that the nation faces a serious teacher shortage. Statistical models show that approximately 2.4 million new public school teachers will need to be hired between 1999 and 2009 (U.S. Department of Education, 1999). States and school districts face the dual challenge of attracting more people into the teaching profession while improving teacher quality.

To help meet the challenge, it is critical that talented and high caliber individuals who are likely to consider entering the teaching profession be profiled and factors attributing to persistence in teaching aspirations be identified. This proposed study will trace the early career patterns of teachers, their psychological characteristics, and social/familiar/school environments.

Factors contributing to persistence in teaching careers will be examined using Social-Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT). NELS’s first to fourth follow-up data will be used. These longitudinal data will allow the investigators to examine high school students who initially aspired to teaching careers and those who entered and remained in the career. Findings will help identify and recruit qualified students who are likely to become certified and be successful in their teaching careers.

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Section 1: Proposal Cover Page ---------------------------------------------------------------1 Section 2: Project Summary --------------------------------------------------------------------2 Section 3: Table of Contents -----------------------------------------------------------------3 Section 4: Project Description ------------------------------------------------------------------4 Problem Statement ----------------------------------------------------------------------------4 Purpose of Study/Research Questions -----------------------------------------------------6 Theoretical Framework ----------------------------------------------------------------------7 Data Set ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------8 Variables ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------9 Data Analyses -------------------------------------------------------------------------------10 Dissemination Plan -------------------------------------------------------------------------11 Policy Relevance --------------------------------------------------------------------------12 Innovations --------------------------------------------------------------------------------13 Audiences ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------13 Section 5: References ---------------------------------------------------------------------------14 Section 6: Biographical Sketches -------------------------------------------------------------18 Section 7: Budget -------------------------------------------------------------------------------33 Section 8: Current and Pending Support ----------------------------------------------------34 Section 9: Facilities, Equipment, and Other Resources ------------------------------------34 Section 10: Time line ----------------------------------------------------- --------------------35

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Statement of Problem:

In many school districts, teacher shortages have reached alarming levels. According to Assistant Secretary Stroup’s (2002) testimony before the House Subcommittee on Labor/HHS/Education Appropriations, America's schools will need to hire more than 2 million teachers over the next decade, more than half of whom will be first-time teachers. Teacher shortages are particularly acute in high-poverty areas and in academic fields such as mathematics, science, special education, and bilingual education. It has been predicted that between 1994-2005 needs for teachers will increase 16% in elementary schools, 29% in secondary schools, and 53% in special education programs. Along with special education, teachers of English as a second language, mathematics, and some sciences will be particularly needed (NCATE, 1997). As a result, states and school districts face the dual challenge of attracting more people into the teaching profession while improving teacher quality.

The shortage of teachers is expected to worsen largely due to predicted increases in student enrollments and elevated teacher retirement rates (Haggstrom, Darling-Hammond, & Grissmer, 1988; Henke & Zahn, 2001; National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future, 1997). Over the next ten years, an unusually large number of teachers are expected to be hired to meet the needs of increasing enrollment and loss of teachers due to retirement. Statistical models show that approximately 2.4 million newly hired public school teachers will be needed from 1999 to 2009 (U.S. Department of Education, 1999). Enrollments in elementary and secondary schools are expected to set records each year up to at least 2008 (Gerald & Hussar, 1998).

While much attention needs to be given to the teacher shortage, one shouldn’t be shortsighted about attracting high quality, high-caliber individuals to the profession. Problems of teacher quality and quantity are, indeed, among the most important issues in schools, but they also are among the least understood. The problem is as much quality as it is quantity. The “No Child Left Behind Act” requires that by the end of the 2005-2006 school year, every classroom in America must have a teacher who is “highly qualified” (U.S. Department of Education, 2002).

One of the initial steps in meeting this challenge is to identify and characterize these high ability individuals who are likely to consider entering the teaching profession.

The country faces a serious consequence if the nation does not supply and retain quality teachers (Darling-Hammond & Sykes, 2003). As the National Commission on Excellence in Education (1983) warned almost two decades ago, "the educational foundations of our society are being eroded by a rising tide of mediocrity that threatens our very future as a nation and a people" (p. 5). President George W. Bush’s “No child left behind” would be doomed to fail if we do not address the issue of teacher recruitment, training, and retention. An even greater risk is that this nation will not be able to compete in the emerging global economic environment which largely depends on the quality of the nation's work force as defined by its literacy, numeracy, flexibility, and teachability.

One way to address the teacher shortage problem is to use national data base resources to identify individuals potentially seeking teaching careers, explore how they got interested, what plans they made, and whether they succeeded or not. Studies related to career aspiration and persistence have largely focused on investigating why an individual chooses a career in teaching, why teachers change positions and what causes teachers to leave the profession (e.g., Grissmer & Kirby, 1997; Henke & Zahn, 2001; Ingersoll, 2001; Miller, Brownwell, & Smith, 1999; Shen, 1997). Additionally, colleges and schools of education have attempted to address both teacher retention and quality through induction and mentoring programs (e.g., Basinger, 2000; Serpell & Bozeman, 1999). Although some results seem promising, it may be difficult to assess the long term impact of such programs on supply or teacher quality. Lack of systematic inquiries and extended follow-ups on this issue appear to be critical and can be best addressed through analysis of national databases. More importantly, lack of study examining the shortage of the most needed teaching specialty has prompted this investigation. To the best of our knowledge, this study represents the first attempt to use cognitive social theory as a framework to examine the career interests and persistence of students who aspire to teaching careers.

The purpose of the study. National career development guidelines suggest that career awareness and career exploration should start in the earliest possible grade level. Studies have indicated that decisions to become a teacher can be traced back to middle school years (Lee, Clery, & Presley, 2001; Page & Page, 1984) and likely peak at ages 15 to16 (Page, Page, Hawk, Amburgey, & Correro, 1980). The present study will longitudinally examine three cohorts of students: (1) 10th grade students who say they want to be teachers in the early phases of NELS, (2) students in teacher education programs (third follow-up), and (3) when they became teachers in the 4th follow-up. How their aspirations unfold through their college years and into the work force will be investigated.

The investigators will seek answers to these questions: Who is more likely to become a candidate for teacher education? What are pragmatic and significant variables that affect student persistence? Who is more likely to fall through the cracks? Can prediction models of persistence

in teaching careers be developed? Specifically, the investigators will examine:

• characteristics of students who persisted in their teaching career aspirations in all four

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• characteristics of students enrolled in teacher education programs who did not originally plan to pursue a teaching career (n =918),

• factors discriminating between people who persisted (n = 109) and who did not persist, (n = 376),

• predictors of high ability (or secondary endorsement) students who persisted to complete their teacher education and at least their initial year of teaching (n =62),

• predictors of job satisfaction, and (f4bsovr),

• reasons for dropping out of teacher education. (n = 728; edmajor2 BY edmajor1).

It is anticipated that findings from this study will provide educators, counselors and decision makers with an understanding of the background and characteristics of students who they may wish to target with recruitment and retention efforts.

Theoretical Framework. The selection of variables for this study was, in part, guided by the social cognitive theory of career and academic interest, choice, and performance (Lent, Brown, & Hackett, 1994). This model concerns itself with the effects of self-efficacy beliefs, expected outcome and goal mechanisms, and how these variables interrelate with gender, contextual, experiential, and learning factors.

The social cognitive career theory (SCCT) has emerged as an influential theory in describing an individual’s career development (Brown, 2002). According to the SCCT (Lent, Brown, & Hackett, 1996), personal career related behavior is influenced by four aspects, including (a) behaviors, (b) self-efficacy beliefs, (c) outcome expectations, and (d) goals, in addition to genetically determined characteristics. Goals are considered the key organizational processes that influence an individual’s thoughts and behaviors (Schutz, Crowder, & White, 2001). Self-efficacy serves as a generative mechanism through which individuals integrate and apply their existing cognitive, behavioral, and social skills to a task. SCCT posits that selfefficacy affects thought patterns and partly determines individuals' actions, their decisions to engage in a task, to put forth effort, and to persevere under failure (Bandura, 1986). The SCCT will be used in this study as a conceptual framework to understand how students attain varying levels of performance and “persistence in their educational and career pursuit” (Lent et al., 1996, p.311).

The SCCT has also been used to understand educational and vocation choices of students.

For example, Mau and Bikos (2000) applied the SCCT model to predict educational aspirations of high school students. Mau (2003) used the SCCT as a framework to examine persistence in science and engineering career aspirations of 8th grade students. Solomonson and Bouman (2002) tested the fit of the SCCT model in explaining career choice and attainment of women with science or engineering degrees. Locus of control, a related self-efficacy construct, has emerged as a significant factor differentiating a student’s choice of career. Studies (Mau et al., 1995;

Rojewski & Yang, 1997) indicated that the greater the internal locus of control, the more likely a student would aspire to a gender non-traditional occupation. The complex nature of teacher employment patterns suggests the need for a framework to organize the multiple personal, social, and environmental variables which explain how and why some teachers persist in the teaching profession and others do not. To the authors’ knowledge, no studies have used SCCT to examine career aspiration and persistence in teaching careers.

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