«2004 AIR RESEARCH GRANT PROPOSAL Finding Leakage in the Pipeline of Teacher Supply: Factors Influencing Youngsters to Aspire to and Stay in Teaching ...»
Data Set. The data the authors propose using are included in the National Educational Longitudinal Survey of 1988 (NELS: 88), which consists of a base year (1988), first follow-up (1990), second follow-up (1992), third follow-up (1994), and fourth follow-up (2000). NELS: 88 is the most recent series of longitudinal studies designed to "provide trend data about critical transitions experienced by students as they leave elementary school and progress through high school and into college or their careers" (NCES, 1990, p.5). The base year survey was comprised of a nationally representative sample of 24,599 students selected from 1,052 middle schools (public, N = 815 and private, N = 237) in the United States. The sample was stratified by school size, urban versus rural, region, and percentage of minority students (NCES, 1994). Due to student drop outs, the sample was refreshed with additional students in both the first follow-up (10th-grade, N = 20,840) and second follow-up (12th-grade, N = 21,188). The third follow-up (N = 14,915) took place in the spring of 1994, when most sample members had been out of high school for two years. The fourth follow-up took place in 2000, the year in which most sample members turned 26 year old. The fourth follow-up sample consisted of 12,144 participants.
Initial analysis indicates that of the 11,309 10th grade students, 514 (4.5%) aspired to teaching career. Four years later, 316 lost interest, 198 still aspired to a teaching career and an additional 832 students became interested, resulting in a total of 1,030 students aspired to teaching.
Four clusters of NELS independent variables will be included in this study, including:
(a) Psychological variables: self-esteem (F1CNCPT2, seven items, e.g., I feel good about myself), locus of control (F1LOCUS2, six items; e.g., I don’t have enough control over the direction my life is taking), and academic self-efficacy (four items, e.g., math is one of my best subjects, English is one of my best subjects).
(b) Home environment and familiar variables: perceived parental expectations, socioeconomic status (F1SES; i.e., a composite score of parents’ education, occupations and family income), parental school involvement (F1S105A–F1S105G, seven items, e.g., how often students have discussed selecting school courses or programs with parents), parental academic involvement (F1S106A –F1S106D, four items, e.g., how often parents attend school meetings), and number of siblings (FAMCOMP).
(c) School and academic variables: academic proficiency (F12XCOMP; measured by a composite score of a 21-item reading and a 40-item math proficiency test developed by ETS), high school GPA, college GPA, SAT/ACT, high school course work, high school program (F1HSPROG: general, academic, and vocational/technical program), school setting (G10URBAN: urban, suburban, and rural), school size (F1SCENRL), and school type (G10CTRL1: public or private/parochial schools).
(d) Sex and ethnicity variables: Both sex (F4SEX) and ethnicity (F4RACEM) are available
Dependent Variables Occupation expected at age 30 (This variable is measured at each of the four follow-ups) Current Occupation (F4BXOCCD) Major Field of Study (MAJCODE) Professional License Received (F4CLCR1 - F4CLCR5) Job satisfaction: Composite score of Pay (F4BSPAY), Fringe benefits (F4BSFRG), Work Importance (F4BSIMP), Opportunities for promotion and advancement (F4BSPRO), Opportunities to use past training & education (F4BSED1), Job security (F4BSSEC), Opportunities for further training & education (F4BSED2) Panel Weights Fourth Follow-up Sample Weight (F4PNLWT) First follow-up to Fourth Follow-up Panel Weight (F4F1PNWT) Second follow-up to Fourth Follow-up Panel Weight (F4F2PNWT) Data Analyses. The research questions proposed earlier can be addressed by several separate statistical analyses. First, 10th graders who initially aspired to the teaching profession and persisted in each follow-up cohort will be identified. Characteristics of students who persisted in each cohort and all four follow-up cohorts will be profiled using descriptive statistics and frequencies. Separate analyses of variance (ANOVA) will be performed to provide further understanding of the nature of persistence factors. Second, factors contributing to persistence in a teaching career will be analyzed using logistic regression analysis. Given the dichotomous nature of the dependent variables (persistence vs. non persistence), logistic regression models will be used. Logistic regression analysis has a number of advantages over other multivariate techniques (e.g., discriminant or multiple regression analyses) because it permits violation of normality and it is interpretable in terms of probability. Logistic regression will provide a test of the probability that members of a specific group are more likely to persist in pursuing a teaching career. As stated earlier, the variable selection and entry into the model are guided by the Social Cognitive Theory of career choice and aspiration. Predictors will be entered in blocks using a forward stepwise method, with demographics variables entered first, then school variables, followed by family variables, and psychological variables. The order of entry within each cluster is determined by the stepwise selection procedure. The analyses will be based on weighted samples created to adjust for the oversampling bias which redistributed the observations to represent the distribution in the population (NCES, 1997). Depending on the cohorts involved in the analyses, appropriate panel weights will be used. Since statistical procedures generally compute regression coefficients based on simple random sample assumptions, the standard errors must be adjusted with the design effects using appropriate variance estimation procedures to take into account the complex sampling procedures used in the NELS:88 surveys (Curtin, Ingels, Wu, & Heuer, 2002).
We anticipate that findings from this study will have important implications for at least (a) middle and elementary school level administrators and counselors, (b) post-secondary level student recruiters and counselors, teacher education faculty and administrators, and (c) researchers and educational practitioners. Therefore, the authors’ dissemination efforts will focus mainly on these three groups of individuals.
1. Middle and elementary school level administrators and counselors: Paper bound copies will be sent to area school districts for distribution. An executive summary will be emailed to various professional groups that would reach counselors and school level administrators throughout the U.S.
2. Post-secondary level student recruiters and counselors, teacher education faculty and administrators: The findings will be shared with interested faculty in the teacher education program and administrators in the college and university in bound copies.
Paper bound copies will be also sent to university counselors and student advisors. Key findings will be published in the WSU College of Education website that can be searched via major internet search engines.
3. Educational Practitioners and Researchers: We plan to present our findings through national conferences and publications. Conference proposals will be submitted to AIR and the American Educational Research Association (AERA). We will seek to publish our results to the following journals as appropriate: Journal of High Education, Journal of Teacher Education, Career Development Quarterly, Journal of Counseling and Development, and the Journal of Educational Research. When deciding on journal outlets, we will consider the journals that have national impact and have wide circulations
A good policy should be grounded on cumulated research studies that address bottom line issues. Funding should be provided to programs that are developed based on solid research findings and updated information. In fiscal year 2003, $8.9 million is budgeted for federal grants specifically to support teacher recruitment efforts (Stroup, 2002). In addition to providing scholarship funds and support services, 63 percent of recruitment grant recipients are supporting other innovative strategies to ensure that high-need school districts are able to recruit qualified teachers. Our study would provide vital data for relevant policy and the most current empirical data to inform decision-makers in their efforts to recruit qualified teachers. We believe well informed decisions would save money and recruitment efforts.
The proposed study is innovative in several respects. First, 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. SCCT has emerged as a powerful career development theory that has received much empirical support for its predictive validity of various job/career choices. Second, as we have pointed out earlier, research tends to focus on teacher recruitment and retention. This study specifically examines the persistence factor of high ability students. Third, lack of representative and long term follow-up has been a common flaw of previous studies. This investigation proposes to use nationally representative samples that provide longitudinal data following students from high school through their college years to their employment as teachers. What makes this study unique is that we trace early career patterns of the persistent individuals and identify factors contributing to career attainment. Because of the timely availability of the NELS fourth follow-up data, the project described in this proposal is unprecedented. Access to these databases for examination of the persistence of students in teaching careers will allow investigation of policy issues with a sophistication and nuance that is not otherwise possible.
We believe university recruiters and teacher education planners would be most interested in students who are likely to consider teaching majors. This study could be useful to state legislators and school boards who are looking at teacher recruitment. University student advisors may also find this study useful in helping students choose an academic major.
Secondary school administrators who are responsible for hiring and retaining high quality teachers would find this study particular useful. Researchers interested in career development and occupational attainment would also be an audience for the results of this study.
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