Virtual Reality Research

Broadening Participation Research: Applying Innovative Culturally Responsive Pedagogy for African American Middle School Teachers and Students to Broaden the STEM Pipeline: Prairie View A & M University

Tyrone Tanner

[email protected]

Prairie View A&M University and the Alief Independent School District are examining ways to recruit and retain underrepresented minority STEM teachers. Investigators will combine Community of Practice (COP) and Cultural Responsiveness (CR) theory into a framework to investigate the effectiveness of an innovation to better prepare students seeking to pursue careers as STEM teachers. They will use a mixed-methods research design to answer five research questions that a) bridge the COP/CR training with teacher efficacy, b) connect teacher competency with their mastery of the Texas College and Career Readiness standards, c) track how teachers' mastery of the Texas College and Career Readiness standards impact the performance of the students taught by the participants, d) capture the number of students transitioning to high school who select the STEM endorsement tract, and e) assess the effectiveness of the intervention. The investigators will capture educators' confidence and ability to effectively teach and interact with middle schools via established self-report scales. Thus, the research will illuminate how these educators can affect student performance and their scores on the state's standardized tests. The underlying assumption is that teachers who undergo COP/CR training will positively influence students to pursue careers as STEM teachers and to remain in those careers.<br/><br/>The Community of Practice and Cultural Responsiveness practices adhere to the Framework for 21st Century Learning advocated by the Partnership for 21st Century Learning. Approximately ten teachers will be recruited and trained, and five seventh grade science and five eighth math teachers will be placed in Alief ISD middle schools at the end of the project period. The study will address five research questions to achieve this outcome: (1) How does the infusion and training of COP/CR practices impact the efficacy of STEM teachers who teach minority students? A pre- and post-test design will be used to compare scores from the three subscales of the Teacher's Sense of Efficacy Scale. (2) To what degree do teachers who receive COP/CR training report enhanced knowledge of appropriate STEM practices as determined by the Texas Education Agency's College and Career Readiness standards? Descriptive measures from teachers' self-report and lesson plans will provide indicators of the skills needed to motivate future teachers. (3) What are the math and science performances of students who are taught by the COP/CR training teachers? A causal-comparative design where classrooms with COP/CP teachers will be compared to classrooms taught by non-COP/CR trained teachers. Investigators also will use t-tests to test the difference in SAAR mathematics and science scores. (4) To what degree are students of the COP/CR trained teachers following a STEM endorsement path to enrolling in a STEM degree program? Investigators will apply a Pearson's Chi-square test of independence to analyze the data. (5) How has the initiative advanced the minimum Texas STEM benchmarks for recruitment and retention of qualified STEM teachers and academic success in STEM-related subjects? Interview data from school administrators will be collected and analyzed. The project is expected to produce evidence about an effective intervention to increase the number of qualified underrepresented STEM teachers that could be replicated in other settings.<br/><br/>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.

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