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6 Data Needs and Research Opportunities 1 The previous chapters display some of the conceptual richness that meaningful descriptions of supply and demand for precollege science and mathematics teachers would entail. Some of these discussions are based on quite detailed data from a single state or sample survey. Such rich descriptions cannot be realized at a national level, however, in the absence of comprehensive national data (or an aggregation of state data) that would give them substance. As we have noted in earlier chapters, classrooms are rarely unstuffed. What usually is adjusted in times of shortage or surplus is the quality of staff. Moreover, there is a reservoir of individuals who are certified to teach, as well as individuals who would like to teach but are not certified, that is far larger than the counts generated by enumeration of those currently teaching and the numbers of new graduates of teacher training programs. Some analysts believe that in the next decade the demand for science and mathematics teachers will increase as a result of growing enrollment demand and teacher retirements. 1b understand how the supply and quality of science and mathematics teachers will respond to changes in demand, data are needed to support the construction of measures of demand, of potential supply, of quality to the extent possible, and of models of the responsiveness of supply to incentives and to changes in demand. It is the panel's view that current national data collection efforts and knowledge of the relation between incentives and supply are inadequate to support rich structural modeling of teacher demand and supply. Thus, we propose a sequential approach: 157
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158 PRECOLLEGE SCIENCE AD ~THE~TICS TRACHEA · First, as efforts are made to improve the consistency, scope, and quantity of data, publish indicators from existing data that are considered relevant to teacher supply and demand. · Second, carry out the research needed to support behavioral mod- els. · Third, as data bases are improved and research findings on the relation between incentive and supply become available, devote resources to structural modeling that goes beyond straightforward extrapolative projection. In this chapter, the panel's recommendations for data to monitor the state of demand, supply, and quality of precollege science and mathe- matics teachers are set out, followed by a discussion of research issues and a recommendation for a series of conferences that could assist in understanding the processes that result in the observed data. Some of the data recommendations could be easily implemented by modification of existing survey questionnaires. Others would require new data collection approaches. Similarly, some of the research issues can be studied with existing data or data soon to be available from SASS, whereas other issues can only be investigated by development of new data bases. This chapter proceeds with sections on data recommendations (most of them for NCES), research issues (primarily for NSF), research facil- itation suggestions, and finally a major recommendation for a series of conferences bringing together NCES and officials of school districts and state education agencies to discuss teacher supply, demand, and quality concerns. It is difficult to assign priorities across such disparate topics. However, within each section where we have listed specific recommenda- tions we have marked those of highest priority with an asterism In addition, in most of the sections, the specific recommendations are listed in order of priority. Finally, at the conclusion of the Summary we offer guidelines for timing the implementation of the high-priority recommendations. DATA RECOMMENDATIONS We present a wide range of data recommendations related to demand, supply, and quality. Better data in the short run on elements of the sup- ply/demand situation, including the sensitivity of teachers' career decisions to the many factors that may influence these decisions, will in turn con- tribute to the kinds of behavioral models that should be effective in the future. At the outset, we urge NCES to support SASS with a reliable, ongoing base of funding.
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DATA NEEDS AND RESEARCH OPPORTUNITIES 159 Funding for Data Collection In the near term it is of key importance to monitor the state of demand, supply, and quality of precollege science and mathematics teachers. We note that the National Center for Education Statistics recognized the need for a major effort of data collection concerning teachers and contracted with the RAND Corporation in 1985 to design the Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS). A pilot test of that survey was conducted in 1986-87, and the first full-scale survey was conducted in 1987-88. SASS data are expected to be available in 1990 (publication has been delayed because of recent legislation pertaining to the confidentiality of data collected by NCES). Although new surveys always have unexpected problems, we anticipate that much of the needed data will be available and we have so identified data needs that SASS was designed to fill. 1b monitor the supply and demand of science and mathematics teachers effectively, SASS should be repeated periodically, at least every four years, and adequate funds for analysis should be made available to permit full exploitation of this valuable data resource. *The panel recommends that provision be made in the budget for the National Center for Education Statistics to conduct the Schools and Staffing Survey on a regular cycle and that the budget include funds for follow-up surveys of teachers who leave teaching and for in-house and eMernal analysis of the survey data Data Related to Demand In general, the panel finds demand data to be relatively adequate. The task of projecting enrollment-driven demand for science and mathematics teachers is relatively straightforward. The U.S. Bureau of the Census col- lects data on births and their geographic distribution. The children born each year move through precollege schooling in a very predictable way and are augmented primarily through immigration. The data most needed for projecting demand for teachers are current attrition data, particularly data on attrition for reasons other than retirement. Forecasting demand for sci- ence and math teachers, rather than teachers generally, could be improved if better data on course-taking behavior in high school were available. This behavior results both from state-mandated course requirements and from student course preferences. The panel recommends the collection of additional data, disaggregated by subject, of the following types, in order of . . priority: *1. Data on attrition/retention rates of nonretirees by discipline. Detailed discussion of these data on attrition/retention is found below under data related to supply. Although knowledge and ability to forecast retirements
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160 PRECOLLEGE SCIENCE AND MATHEMATICS TEACHERS is fairly adequate, data on attrition earlier in the teaching career would improve projections of demand. 2. Data on state-mandated high school course requirements in sci- ence and mathematics. Increased requirements for mathematics or science courses can lead to greater demand for teachers of both advanced and remedial courses. The Education Commission of the States (ECS) pub- lishes data on changes in state requirements periodically, although at a very general level, i.e., the number of science and mathematics courses re- quired. State data are only a beginning. NCES has found that high school graduation requirements as mandated by states are often exceeded by the requirements already in place in individual districts. Therefore, relying solely on changes in state requirements to determine demand for teachers will probably overestimate increased demand. 3. Data on course offerings and changes in offenng~; over rime. Changes in course offerings can change the demand for science and mathematics teachers and, in particular, can indicate the need for teachers with special qualifications, such as the ability to teach advanced placement chemistry. 4. Data on changes in enrollments (in general and for particular science and mathematics courses). Such enrollment data should be disa~egated by sex and race/ethnicity. Although SASS data from LEAs will provide changes in the number of secondary science teachers by science subject and changes in the number of mathematics teachers and computer-science teachers, the SASS local education agency form does not track student enrollments in a parallel fashion. The SASS teacher questionnaire could be used to obtain enrollment data by race/ethnicity and sex for particular science and mathematics courses by expanding the question that asks teachers sampled for the names of the courses they teach and the number of students in each course. It is important that new data collections related to demand be dis- aggregated by subject to be useful in setting policy to produce a corps of teachers with the right mix of skills to meet the demands of future years. Data Related to Supply The number of teachers employed in schools nationwide is augmented each year by new graduates from teacher training programs, newly certified teachers who enter teaching from other pathways (collaborative relation- ships with industry, for example), and entrants from the reserve pool of previously certified teachers who have never taught or former teachers who have chosen to reenter the profession. The number of teachers employed is diminished by attrition due to retirement and other causes. Thus monitor- ing supply requires keeping track of changes in the supply pool generally. In particular, it requires data over time on certification, on attrition and
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DATA NEEDS AND RESEARCH OPPORTUNlT ES 161 retention rates, and on new hiring and the levels of key incentives that at- tract people to the teaching profession. Monitoring supply calls, as well, for data that describe the competitiveness of teacher salaries relative to oppor- tunity cost salaries, amount of reciprocity in certification across states, and portability of teacher pensions. Our highest-priority data recommendations for the short run call for better data on attrition, on the hinug rate for newly certified teachers, on the supply potential of segments of the reserve pool, and on incentives that influence individuals' decisions to enter or leave teaching. The panel recommends obtaining better data or making fuller use of existing data on the following aspects of supply, which are presented in 'pipeline" order: 1. College students planning to teach . 7Pend data on the career interests expressed by college freshmen. Indicators of future teacher supply include student aspirations to become teachers. The proportion of freshmen aspiring to teach appears to be up now for the first time in many years. Data from The American Freshman (described in Appendix B) should be analyzed by subject major, sex, and ethnicity. Follow-ups of students after two years and four years that are conducted occasionally also should be analyzed. However, it should be kept in mind that the number of freshmen who say they want to teach may be only loosely related to the number among them who actually obtain certificates. · Data on science, mathematics, and education majors to be related' if possible, to numbers of actual certificants. How many, by major, who planned/did not plan to teach entered/did not enter the certification stage? The High School and Beyond and Recent College Graduates surveys pro- vide these data. 2. Certification · Information on state certification policies and practices. NCES should continue to collect and disseminate this information. · Data from states on education school and certification program en- rollments by subject specialty, sex, and race/ethnic group. NCES should collect and disseminate these indicators of what is in the pipeline-potential additions to teacher supply in the next one or two years. · National data on the number of rzew certipcants by type (traditional, emergency, or alternative programs and by subject annually compiled from state certification board data. Different states have different certification practices and categories. It should be possible for NCES to get com- parable totals, however, for aggregated categories (mathematics, science, elementary, secondary, for example) and to present disaggregated data when available. Since teachers may be certified in more than one category, these data will not be perfectly matched with the increase in the supply of
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162 PRECOLLEGE SCIENCE AND MATHEMATICS TEACHERS newly qualified teachers. Rather, these data provide an upper bound on the change in newly qualified supply. · Information on the degree of reciprocity in certification across states. These data help to indicate the extent to which shortages in one part of the country could be filled by additional teachers from elsewhere. The National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certifi- cation (NASDTEC) publishes states' reciprocity provisions periodically in its Manual on Certification. It would be useful to include this information in NCES's Digest of Education Statistics. The effect of reciprocity on the mobility of the reserve pool is an issue for research. Data collected at the state or local level on the extent to which teachers are employed who hold temporary, provisional, or emergency certificates. The SASS teacher questionnaire will collect this information. The data should be analyzed by subject, by region, or by type of area (e.g., rural, suburban, urban, or central city). These data may indicate exhaustion of the reserve pool or a shortage in a particular subject or in a particular geographic area. SASS also asks districts for the number of full-time equivalent positions, by subject, that remained vacant or were filled by a substitute or withdrawn for lack of a suitable candidate. SASS collects the total for these three categories but does not provide disaggregated data. Information on the reasons for employing teachers with these categories of certificates could be obtained through in-depth discussions with school district officials on a regular basis, as the panel recommends at the end of this chapter. · Data on the use of alternative programs for earning certification to teach. In response to perceived shortages in the quantity or quality of teachers in general, or in some cases of teachers of particular subjects, a growing number of initiatives providing alternative or nontraditional routes to certification have recently been created. The extent to which science and mathematics teachers obtained their certification through an alternative program and the distribution of such teachers geographically and among urban, suburban, and rural schools should be monitored closely, through a question that can readily be added to SASS. . Follow-up data on new certificants to ascertain the numbers and pro- portions of new certificants who did not immediately take teaching positions. Such data would probe for reasons behind their decisions, alternative ac- tivities chosen, and salaries, if possible. The Survey of Recent College Graduates is one possible source of data, as is its successor, the Baccalau- reate and Beyond Longitudinal Study, which is expected to provide data in the future. 3. *. New hires and incentives to teach Comparative salary data to indicate competitiveness of teachers' salaries relative to those of alternative nonteaching positions. Although there is a question of just how this comparison should be made, one simple
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DATA NEEDS AND RESEARCH OPPOR~UNlTIES 163 measure would be starting salaries in industry for people with equivalent education (e.g., a B.S. in mathematics). The College Placement Council (1988) publishes these data annually. *e Data on reasons why teachers selected their current school/distrzct and alternative offers they had. Such data (not currently collected by the SASS teacher surveys or the NLS teaching supplement) would help identify actions that schools or districts might take to attract well-qualified teachers. (Note that, if there is a national shortage, it is not clear that such actions would increase the national supply of teachers rather than the attractiveness of a particular school/district.) *a The number of last year's certificants, by type of certificate, who were hired (or received a firm job offer) by school district and the proportion of those who applied for positions and were hired. These data, which can be collected from college placement offices, provide an indicator of the extent to which school districts draw from the pool of newly certified teachers, rather than teachers from the reserve pool. Inclusion of racial/ethnic data would help monitor the progress of minorities through the pipeline. · Ifend data obtained from districts on the ratio of the number of applicants to vacancies in teaching' by field, and on the ratio of job offers per hire, by field. Questions on the number of applicants and the number of job offers per vacancy could be added to the SASS survey. Although an applicant may apply for more than one vacancy, a decline in this indicator (assuming no change in recruitment practices) would point to increasing shortages of applicants in a particular field. Similarly, an increase in the number of job offers per vacancy could indicate a shortage or the need to make the positions more attractive. · Data from school districts (building on SASS) on the extent to which districts are shifting from screening applicants to recmiting, disaggregated by subject and by race/ethnic group. When teachers are in surplus, districts recruit near home (if at all) and passively accept applications that are then screened. As shortages arise, districts recruit more vigorously. Thus, if it were possible to count the number of districts engaging in active recruiting without significant measurement error, it would be an indicator of shortage, and growth in such an indicator over time would indicate increasing shortage. Current SASS school district questionnaires ask about screening generally, but not by subject, nor do they ask about recruiting. Because of the difficulty of quantifying recruiting, this topic should be explored more thoroughly by in-depth discussions with a sample of school districts. · Recruitment data from personnel directors of school systems and Tom college and university placement directors that identify fields of shortage as they perceive them. Such data could highlight teaching fields for which normal supply is not adequate. Expansion of recruitment areas and changes in
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164 PRECOrr EGE SCIENCE AND MATHEMATICS TEACHERS practices such as early offers or bonuses might indicate the severity of the prospective shortage. Widespread reporting by many personnel officers and many placement officers of the need for teachers in a field might indicate a potential area of shortage. However, such a need would have to persist for several years before being classified as a shortage. Recruitment data should be collected by the geographic area covered, by subject, and by the race/ethnicity of recruits. 4. The reserve pool Because the reserve pool is such a major source of new hires, it is important to know not only how large it is, but the content and size of its various components, its size in different states or regions of a state, and whether it is nearly exhausted in the area of the relevant labor market. From the panel's viewpoint, all the approaches under this topic are high priority because so much hiring is from the reserve pool. Knowing the char- acteristics of the types of people in the reserve pool is important, for some individuals would not reenter teaching under any conditions. Different components of the reserve pool can be expected to behave differently. A variety of approaches could be taken to measure the supply potential of segments of the reserve pool: *. Follow new college graduates over lime to determine the proportion that enter teaching by the number of years after graduation, reasons for leaving teaching, time spent out of teaching, and reentry into teaching. Data from the longitudinal studies High School and Beyond and NELS:88 provide opportunities for studying the reserve pool from this perspective. Data on teaching status one year after graduation are available from the Recent College Graduates (RCG) surveys carried out periodically with a sample of recent graduates, most of whom prepared for teaching. A promis- ing future data source will be the Baccalaureate and Beyond Longitudinal Study, which is scheduled to replace the RCG in 1994. *. New hires from the reserve pool can be tracked backward to study their career histories prior to entering or reentering teaching. The SASS teacher survey instrument will provide data on age of entry or reentry, time spent away from teaching, what new hires were doing before they took teaching positions, and subject areas taught. Components of the reserve pool that can be covered in this way include both reentrants and people who were certified but had not taught. Monitored over time, these data will begin to shed light on the extent to which the reserve pool is adequate or exhausted for certain subject areas or geographic areas. *. Back persons certified by a given state who are not currently teaching in that state. Such persons constitute an important component of the re- serve pool at the state level. Using data from state certification files, some states can track certificants who still live in the state and can characterize
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DATA NEEDS AND RESEARCH OPPORTUNITIES 165 that segment of the reserve pool by age, subject specialty, and years of past teaching experience. A survey could determine their interest in teaching or incentives that would encourage them to teach. Studies of teacher supply and demand in Massachusetts (Massachusetts Institute for Social and Economic Research, 1987) and Connecticut (Connecticut State Department of Education, 1985b) illustrate the use of certification data to estimate the size of this component of the reserve pool. 5. Attrition rates and incentives to leave teaching *e School data on amition rates. Data from schools on the distribution of teachers by age, race/ethnicity, sex, and disciplinary area, as well as attrition levels within these categories. Attrition should be classified by retirement or other cause. The best prospect for obtaining some of these data is probably SASS, which included an attrition-by-field question in the base year survey; the data, however, are of poor quality. The panel urges NCES to simplify the SASS matrix questions on attrition to improve response and to collect these data on a continuing basis. The school questionnaire should be able to separate attrition due to moving to another school or district from leaving the teaching profession completely and reducing the national supply of teachers. *. Incentives to leave teaching Overall changes in supply are affected by factors that make teaching more or less attractive compared with other occupations. The periodic SASS follow-up surveys of former teachers should provide data on the reasons for attrition on a national scale and increase understanding of the behavioral components of teacher attrition and mobility. SASS should also collect information on salary scales, which could be analyzed in conjunction with salaries in other occupations to learn more about the competitiveness of teachers' salaries to opportunity cost salaries. · Information from schools on separation rates of teachers by field of study. These data, which are being collected by SASS, are needed to understand the effect of separations on the teaching force for different fields of study. · Information Mom states on teacher retirement policies. Such data would be helpful for use in research on the relation among attrition rates, portability of teacher pensions, and retirement policies. (SASS asks districts about the minimum age, years of service, and penalty for early retirement associated with their retirement plans.) However, knowing state retire- ment policies does not answer the question fully, since teachers are often covered by various combinations of state, district, and union retirement plans.
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166 PRECOLLEGE SCIENCE AND MATHEMATICS TEACHERS Data Related to Quality The notion of "enough" science and mathematics teachers must be understood in qualitative terms. Therefore, it is imperative to gather data that indicate aspects of quality. Little information exists that helps to define or measure quality at present. Although we do not know what constitutes good teaching, one of the issues is to find out what goes into good teaching. We attempted in Chapter 5 to sort out major ingredients of teacher and teaching quality that call for further data. Better measurement of these ingredients may help identify measures of quality. One group of such components includes school system hiring policies and practices and school-level conditions that can affect quality. A second group of aspects involves the qualifications of newly hired teachers. To provide indicators of aspects of the qualify of teachers and their work environments, the panel recommends that the data listed below be collected and monitored over time. 1. School system factors that affect quality. It is critical to build a foundation of data about school and district practices that have effects on quality. The panel recommends obtaining the following data, in order of priority: *. Hiring practices, including timing of offers, and constraints such as internal transfer rules. SASS does not provide data related to these areas; information may be better obtained through in-depth discussions with a sample of districts (as recommended at the end of this chapter). *. Data describing inservice education, laboratory materials, and collegial and administrative support for teachers in place. School principals and school district officials are probably the best source. The one-time administrative and teacher survey of the High School and Beyond Survey conducted in 1984 was designed to provide such data at the national level. SASS and the NSF surveys of science and mathematics education could be the vehicles for data collection, with important design input from in-depth conferences with districts. The presence of support systems allows teachers to be better teachers and can attract new entrants to the profession; however, they are costly. There may be a trade-off between increasing salary and increasing nonsalary support, for example. *. School practices related to time use, class size, teaching load, level of autonomy, opportunities for collaboration and decision making, salary, and other monetary incentives. Information on such school practices may be relatively easy to obtain from teachers or principals through existing survey programs, particularly the SASS school administrator and teacher question- naires. Other sources include the teacher questionnaires for NAEP science and mathematics assessments, NELS:88, the High School and Beyond ad- ministrative and teacher survey, and the SASS follow-up survey of teachers who remain in teaching. ' t ~ . . . _ _
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DATA NEEDS AND RESEARCH OPPORI UNITIES 167 *e Teacher assignment or mzsassignment, by subject, including incidence of out-of-peld leaching and use of temporary or emergency certification. (These data were previously recommended to understand supply.) This informa- tion, available from the SASS teacher questionnaire, together with the survey's information on filling difficult vacancies, state certification data, and in-depth discussions with school districts as recommended presently, can be used to measure the prevalence of these types of assignments. · Idenufiraiion by school districts of the major criteria used in teacher selection, by subject, and the weight given to each criterion. In response to a surplus, districts may change the weighting of their criteria, putting more emphasis on formal credentials and depth of course background, in order to make screening easier. However, this kind of information is likely to be difficult to obtain; it may vary greatly depending on the subject or students to be taught. Data collection should be initiated as a research activity rather than by initiating a statistical time series. SASS asks a general question on the use of certain baseline criteria, but collects no data as recommended here. 2. Qualifications of teachers. There are a number of ways to measure and assess teacher qualifications. Some are objective and can be counted; some are subjective and not easily quantified. Some are easily quantified but useful only as a baseline for minimum qualification (such as certification); some require more examination but would also be more informative (such as transcripts). Some indicators can be based on existing standards (such as those of the NSTA), and some on proposed standards (such as those of the Holmes group). While the recommendations presented here are clearly difficult to implement, a beginning must be made. Data should be collected to in- dicate the presence and strength of teacher qualifications so that more sophisticated studies to measure the effect of teachers' knowledge can be carried out. Thus, the following kinds of data are recommended in order of priority. *. Certification data as an indication of a minimum or baseline level of qualifications. We note that NCES has implemented the following recommendation from the panel's interim report and urge them to continue this practice: 'We recommend that the Center for Education Statistics surveys of teachers regularly include measures of certification Type and sub ject fields) and that the Center obtain and disseminate available information on state certification policies and practices." However, certification data should be distinguished not only by type of certification, as the SASS teacher questionnaire now does, but also by whether certification was earned through an alternative certification
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172 PRECOLLEGE SCIENCE AND MATHEMATICS TEACHERS working conditions, availability of other jobs in the labor market area, cost of educational training, and state and local policies for educational professional personnel. These behavioral factors affect not only the actual supply of teachers, but also the retention of current teachers. These behavioral factors are particularly important because many of them are levers that policy makers can use to change the supply of teachers. Much can be learned from in-depth conferences with school district officials, which we recommend at the end of this chapter. Recommended studies of the erect of these behavioral factors are listed below in order of priority. *1. Incentives that affect individual decisions to enter teaching' to leave teaching and move to a different occupation, or to retire. For the first, what are the effects of salary, working conditions, location, alternative nonteaching opportunities, etc., on the decision to accept an offer to teach and on the overall acceptance rates? For the second, what are the effects of salary, instructional support, working conditions, alternative opportunities, etc., on whether, and when in the career cycle, one decides to leave and on the overall retention rates of teachers? For the third, research is needed on the relationship between state separation rates for retirement and individual reasons for retiring, external shock variables, and incentives and disincentives for retention and retirement. Related issues are the effect of separation rates on individual school districts and on the teaching force for different fields of study. *2. Supply potential of the reserve pool and supply. Because the re- serve pool is one of the two major sources of teachers, and because the other source- new certificants is decreasing in number, research to as- sess the supply potential of the reserve pool is of increasing importance. Studies of the reserve pool might include the effects of incentives, such as salary increases, on attracting individuals from the reserve pool. 1b determine whether entry rates to teaching from the reserve pool are in- fluenced by salary increases, districts that have had large salary increases (e.g., Rochester) could be studied. Another example: What are the effects of limited mobility of teachers in the reserve pool on the supply potential of the reserve pool? It appears that in general individuals are willing to move only a small distance to accept a teaching position. A study of the labor markets for urban areas, suburban areas, small towns, and rural areas could help determine what that distance is. These examples are only a few among numerous important aspects of the reserve pool in need of research. *3. School districts experiencing supply/demand problems. The infor- mation collected in SASS can be used to identify such school districts for special studies. The supply and demand situation for science and math- ematics teachers is likely to be quite different in different geographic or labor market regions (e.g., inner city, rural, or high-income suburban).
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DATA NEEDS AND RESEARCH OPPORlrUNlTIES 173 Examination of subsamples of districts, including in-depth inquiries, can produce valuable special reports if done on a timely basis. They may pro- vide information for policy use in ameliorating the problems, and they can also help determine appropriate categories for disaggregation of data in publications. The NCES district conferences we recommend later in this chapter can be designed to coordinate with the study of particular groups of districts. 4. Allematzve career decisions that minored college students and grad- uate students are making Why are fewer such students obtaining degrees to teach? Why are they choosing other positions rather than teaching jobs? Why are they leaving teaching? Research should probe into the first two questions to identify the alternatives minorities choose and the perceived opportunity costs that draw them away from teaching science or mathematics. Such knowledge can help form strategies to attract minorities into teaching and, indirectly, to increase the overall supply pool. The last question could be addressed with data from the SASS questionnaires. The best data source for the earlier question is the set of follow-up surveys of the NLS-72. 5. Elect of increasing certi~aiion requirements on the incentive to obtain a teaching certificate or to apply for a teaching position. 6. Incentives that attracted the recipients of NSF's Presidential Science Awards to teaching and those that keep them in the teaching profession. The professional development activities of the recipients of mathematics awards have been studied (Yamashita, 1987~. Quality Neither teacher quality nor teaching quality is a term that lends itself readily to precise definition. Teacher quality refers to the knowledge, skill, and general ability level of the teacher. We believe that measurement of teacher quality is important because some of the measures of teacher quality seem to be important factors in determining who goes into teaching and who finds better opportunities elsewhere. Thus teacher quality is an important variable in teacher supply models, and we need to understand the responsiveness of teacher quality to incentives. Obviously, teacher quality is determined in part by the quality of teacher preparation programs; the issue is the degree to which these programs prepare teachers to be effective pedagogues in transmitting knowledge about mathematics or science. Teaching quality is also of direct concern to the panel, since it is a direct measure of the degree to which a teacher of mathematics or science is able in the school setting to lead students to a better understanding of mathematics or science. Teaching quality, as we see it, derives from several sources and can be measured by different types of data pertaining to the
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174 PRECOLLEGE SCIENCE AND M4THEMAT CS TEACHERS school setting in which classroom teaching takes place. Teaching quality is affected by school and district policies and practices, such as selection of teaching materials, allocation of time to various subjects, availability of laboratory facilities, and the teacher's degree of autonomy in the classroom. It is also affected by curricular structure and processes and by teacher characteristics such as subject matter competence and ability to facilitate learning, which in turn are affected by the quality of teacher training. A frequently used measure of teacher quality is teacher qualifications- courses taken, credentials received, etc. While we recognize' that there is some link between teacher qualifications and both teacher quality and teaching quality, it is the panel's view that the linkage is apt to be loose rather than tight; again, that is clearly a topic for research. In the course of panel discussions on these issues, we noted several studies related to teacher quality or teaching quality that could be pursued, and we list them in order of priority. *1. Study the effectiveness of practices that schools and school districts have employed to improve quali~-for example, the mentor schools in edu- cation in Dade County, Florida. *2. Examine the inservice trainingpractices for science and mathematics teachers that are provided by elementary and secondary schools, to identify programs that seem to be effective and to understand reasons why some programs appear to work while others do not. *3. Andy teachers' transcript records to determine the degree to which transcripts can be used as an accurate reflection of subject matter knowl- edge. *4. Study the methodological curriculum in teacher training institutions to assess the degree to which these institutions vary in their emphasis on pedagogical theory compared with pedagogical practice. 5. Compare the academic backgrounds of teachers who leave teaching and those who stay. (Substudies based on teacher transcripts could be conducted for teachers identified in the Schools and Staging Survey.) 6. Conduct a follow-up at the schools of the recipients of the Presidential Awards in Science and Mathematics Teaching to gain insights into factors that might improve quality at the school level by noting how the award money was actually spent. The supply-related research issue suggested above could be coordinated with this in a single research project focusing on the award recipients. 7. Measure the event of movement of teachers within school systems from elementary to middle to high school teaching and assess whether these transitions are eroding the average level of content background for secondary science and mathematics teachers and for the body of remaining elementary teachers who do not transfer.
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DATE NEEDS AND RESEARCH OPPORTUNITIES Student Outcomes 175 Although the focus of the panel's study is on the supply, demand, and quality of teachers and on the data needed to monitor these phenomena, it is clear to the panel that their ultimate usefulness lies in the effect of these characteristics on learning. Thus, it is important to measure supply, demand, and quality because it is presumed that these factors are linked to student learning outcomes. But that linkage needs to be explicit; it constitutes an important area in which substantial research efforts need to be carried on. Some aspects of research that would attempt to relate teacher characteristics, school environment variables, and home environment variables to student outcomes and to recognize the importance of variation in school outcomes are described below. 1. Teacher character~sacs. Research to date has not shown a clear link between teacher characteristics and student outcomes. As indicated in Chapter 5, it appears that verbal ability, the number of mathematics or science credits, recent educational experience, professional involvement, years of teaching, and attitudes toward teaching may exhibit some positive relationship, often weak, to student performance. A better understanding of the relationship between teacher characteristics and student outcomes is needed. As a start toward research on this issue, the National Assess- ment of Educational Progress (NAEP) teacher questionnaire for 7th- and Ilth-grade science and mathematics teachers, from the latest science and mathematics assessment (in 1985-86) can be studied, in conjunction with their students' science and mathematics NAEP test scores. The next NAEP science and mathematics assessment is planned for 1990. In addition, the National Education Longitudinal Study of 19~ (NELSON) includes mea- sures of student outcomes together with a set of teacher characteristics and characteristics of schools and districts. For the research to be more mean- ingful, measures should be obtained through records such as transcripts rather than through survey questions. 2. School environment factors. Research should also be concerned with school environment factors that can affect student outcomes, for ex- ample, the constraints placed on teachers by school or district practices such as the degree of mentoring provided to new teachers, teachers' op- portunities to interact with other teachers, and the allocation of classroom hours among mathematics, science, and other subjects. 3. Home environment variables. Learning is influenced not only by teacher and teaching characteristics, but also-and perhaps primarily-by the characteristics of the student's home environment. Before learning takes place in formal school settings, it takes place in the home, and home environments continue to play a role in student learning throughout the entire developmental process. Thus, incorporating the influence of home
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176 PRECO! J EGE SCIENCE AND MATHEMATICS TEACHERS environment variables (e.g., time spent by parents with children and the beliefs and expectations of parents for their children) in studies of student outcomes is crucial to understanding the true influence of teachers and teaching factors on learning. 4. Vanation in school outcomes. The objective of school is to facilitate learning and, from the perspective of the panel, to promote learning in science and mathematics. But from that perspective, facilitation can mean either improving the average outcome or reducing the variation in outcomes. These objectives can sometimes conflict, and part of what most people mean by effective teaching is to find ways to increase the minimum that all students master while not restricting the opportunities of the more able or the more rapid learners. Much existing research has focused largely on the influence of schools on average outcomes, and has not recognized the importance of variation in outcomes. *The panel recommends that further research be conducted on the rela- tionship of measurable characteristics of teachers of mathematics and science and home and school environmental factors to educational outcomes of stu- dents in these fields. This research should explore variation in outcomes as well as average outcomes. Although we recognize the difficulty of conducting controlled experi- ments in education, we believe such experiments could be particularly useful in studying the relationship between measurable teacher qualifications and student outcomes. RESEARCH FACILITATION Educational research is carried out by a number of constituencies: federal, state and local government, research organizations under contract to the government, and academic institutions. Research carried out by governments or research organizations is normally designed to answer specific questions. For example, a research organization is given a grant or contract to study the usefulness of indicators in education. Graduate Student Research Research at academic institutions is carried out in the form of doctoral dissertations or by faculty interested in particular aspects that relate to a specific area of knowledge. For example, a doctoral candidate whose field of interest is gender may be interested in determining gender differences with respect to mathematics background for teachers. The number of doctoral dissertations is large and reflects a rich source of highly trained individuals.
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DATA NEEDS AND RESEARCH OPPORTUN17~ ES 177 In order to attract this group to work on problems of educational interest, student support should be available. *The panel recommends that the Office of Educational Research and Improvement within the Department of Education create a program of doctoral graduate student support (training grantsj in education statistics. The training grant program in the health sciences (biostatistics) has been very successful in attracting to the field of biostatistics a large number of individuals, many of whom are currently employed by the National Institutes of Health, other health organizations, and the pharmaceutical industry. This has changed the level of sophistication in these fields and permitted studies to answer questions on the health status of our society. A comparable program in education statistics could bring to education a parallel group of talented researchers. Data Bases for Personal Computers ~ carry out a doctoral dissertation related to teacher quality or models of teacher supply and demand, access to relevant data is needed. The panel recommends that data from education agencies and studies relating to education be made available in the forte of tapes of the complete data sets, as well as user-friendly disks of data samples. It is particularly important that the documentation be understandable to the researcher without too great an investment of time. An analysis of a large data set can be a very time-intensive process, often taking a year to complete. Such a required time expenditure would not permit graduate students sufficiently ready access for use on a dissertation. Small data sets should be made available for classroom and textbook use. This would have the effect of making education data more visible to a wider audience and ensuring more extensive analysis of the information. State Data Bases The national data bases we have described, as valuable as they will be, will not detail state labor markets or labor markets by field of study. Studies by Murnane and his colleagues (1988, 1989) show that when data are desired for longer time periods or for variables beyond those collected in these national studies, or when greater disaggregation is needed, state data bases become the most useful existing resource. For this reason, the panel surveyed the state education agencies (SEAs) concerning their available data files on public school professional personnel. The results of this survey are summarized in Appendix C. The appendix shows the
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178 PRECOLLEGE SCIENCE AND MATHEMATICS TEACHERS earliest date for which data are available and the availability of selected data items. In Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Institute for Social and Economic Research (MISER) used files of the state certification board and the state retirement system to study the supply and demand for teachers in the state of Massachusetts. This study is being expanded to all states in the New England region. There are indications in state studies by Murnane and his colleagues and in Heyns' analysis of the NLS data (1988) that there are large differ- ences between elementary and secondary teachers in career paths, decisions to stay in teaching, and patterns of reentry to teaching. The studies by Murnane and his colleagues also indicate that both states and fields of study show differences along these variables. The studies are also useful in showing how to combine single-year record tapes of state agencies into multiyear career history files, making it possible to study the attrition and retention of teachers. Limitations of Univariate Indicators The panel sounds a note of caution about interpretation of univariate indicators of quality and about analyses that fail to consider the context in which quality is measured. The quality of science and mathematics instruc- tion is multifaceted, and single variables are best studied in a multifaceted context. An indicator of quality is offered as an example. Membership in mathematics or science teacher professional associations, attendance at workshops sponsored by these associations, and payments by school dis- tricts for advanced training in teachers' specialties during the summer are univariate indicators that appear amenable to data collection. Although it would seem that these are measures of quality, that may not always be the case. If these data are cross-classified by district characteristics, they might indicate differences. Whether or not these differences are differences in quality is a moot point. For instance, districts with small enrollment might support advanced training in the summer to compensate for the isolation of their teachers. Districts with high socioeconomic status might do so to reward their outstanding teachers. Still other school districts finding it difficult to recruit teachers might offer such training as an incentive for hiring, as is done by the Dade County and New York City school districts. This leads to a caution about interpretation of univariate indicators of quality and about policy analysis that fails to account for their value by considering the context in which quality is measured. Frequently cited measures of science education quality are the number of physics courses offered by a high school and the number of teachers certified to teach physics. Alternatively, frequently cited measures of low quality are the
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DATA NEEDS AND RESEARCH OPPORTUNITIES 179 number of physics courses taught by an out-of-field teacher certified in another physical science or the absence of physics courses. Under this definition, a large proportion of the high schools in this country would be rated as of low quality in science education, and a large proportion of the nation's students attend these schools. Before making a policy prescription it is important to classify districts by characteristics that may affect the behavior observed. The low score on this measure is attributable to the low enrollment size of these schools, which is too small to support a full-time physics teacher. In this-example, size was an intervening variable, which should lead us to expect split teaching assignments and few courses in physics in small high schools and to consider policy initiatives appropriate to small schools. Obviously, the explanation for the low score on this quality measure small schools-does not change the low score nor does it change the quality of the part-time teachers. As another example of the caution needed in using univariate indica- tors, high achievement test scores have often been associated with schools in high socioeconomic neighborhoods. Analysts might find a high corre- lation between some educational practice or teacher background variable and student achievement. The teacher background variable might relate to the practice. The high socioeconomic neighborhood attracts teachers with the background variable. A multiple regression would indicate that all three variables socioeconomic neighborhood, teacher background, and educational practice relate to high achievement test scores. If only one of these variables is studied, the explained variance will be overstated. Quality instruction in science and mathematics is multifaceted, and single variables are best studied in a multifaceted context. FACILITATION OF INFORMATION EXCHANGE AMONG DISTRICTS, STATES, AND THE NCES As evident throughout the report, the activities the panel carried out to obtain information about the flow of teachers and the quality of teachers in individual school districts influenced our thinking in many ways. The 16,000 school districts in this country operate relatively independently. The staffing problems they encounter vary widely, and the actions taken by district superintendents and personnel directors to address these problems- are both innovative and varied. Both applicants and school systems have effective means of coping with the uncertainty of budgets and contracts and adjusting to institutional barriers (e.g., use of the substitute pool to stockpile place-bound potential teachers, use of graduate students to teach part time, cooperative arrangements with local industry). Much of the
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180 PRECOLLEGE SCIENCE AND MATHEMATICS TEACHERS information about school district actions to address staging problems will not be captured by the SASS. A few illustrations follow. New York City has hundreds of science and mathematics teachers who are teaching out of field, but not because of a teacher shortage. The school principals have not requested replacements for these teachers because they are effective in working with students in inner-city schools, whereas the ability of certified replacements to control the classroom is an unknown. Yet incidence of out-of-field teaching is one of the measures of shortage in use. The personnel officer of a middle-sized Texas district asserts firmly that the district has no shortage of science and mathematics teachers, and yet they rely heavily on an aggressive national recruiting program. · The panel selected a pair of adjacent districts in Maryland for in-depth case studies because it was thought they would draw on the same labor market. In fact the large urban district recruited at numerous job fairs (occasions at which as many as 20 teacher-training institutions gather their graduates on one campus for a one- or two-day meeting) in areas as far away as Illinois, Michigan, northern New York, and North Carolina. The smaller, semirural district recruited in rural areas of the state and neighboring states. The more rural district was looking for teachers who would be content to live in a rural area and whose values would be similar to those held by the community. · The nature and timing of collective bargaining increases the dif- ficulty of making accurate demand projections. Since many contracts are negotiated in late spring or during the summer, and since clauses typically offer benefits like improved health care provisions to any teachers under contract on the date the agreement is signed, teachers who intend to resign wait until the contract is completed before giving notice. This leads to an underestimate of attrition for demand projections. · Hiring is a year-round process for the seven large districts that participated in the panel's conference, and "demand" is not a static number that measures need only in the fall of each year. In fact these districts do only about half of their hiring for September. · The Dade County School System found that widespread recruit- ment was not as successful as anticipated. Although they recruited success- fully in the northern tier of states, retention was a problem because the new recruits could not cope with the multicultural student body, the heat, the lack of seasons, and homesickness. The case studies and the conference of personnel directors vividly demonstrated to the panel the diversity of practices and styles and the diversity of labor market situations that characterize the nation's school
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1 DATA NEEDS AND RESEARCH OPPORTUNITIES 181 districts. The panel believes that NCES could profit from frequent inter- actions with school district personnel and could play a valuable role as a broker between data producers and data users in the states. A useful mechanism for such interaction would be conferences of district and/or state personnel. At least three types of conferences are envisioned: 1. An annual conference structured to help NCES in design and analysis of SASS. Attendees at this conference would be a mix of district superintendents and personnel directors from districts in the SASS sample. The group should be small enough (7-10 individuals) to permit roundtable discussion. The district personnel would be asked to discuss what is going on in the district with respect to teacher supply, demand, and quality that is not revealed by the data on the SASS forms. This information could be used to provide a framework for analysis of SASS data and caveats to accompany the analysis, and possibly to identify items that should be added to or deleted from the SASS forms. 2. A conference designed to facilitate analysis of teacher supply and demand at the state and district levels. Attendees would be state personnel who prepare supply-and-demand models and individuals experienced with modeling who would be sensitive to implicit assumptions in the models that might not be appropriate for use in some states. An exchange of ideas among these individuals could lead to improvements in state models and in models that states prepare for their individual districts. (When the panel convened the conference of personnel directors from large school districts, we were surprised to learn that these individuals had never met, yet they had problems that were unique to big districts in both nature and magnitude. One of the major benefits of the meeting to them was the opportunity to share problems and solutions. The conference was of sufficient value to them that they have instituted an annual meeting involving a larger number of districts.) 3. A conference designed to stimulate communication between state data producers and district data users. The conference of personnel direc- tors of large school districts provided a striking example of the potential benefit of such conferences. The personnel director from New York City suggested that it would be helpful to have some central organization collect and disseminate information on the number of persons enrolled in teacher training programs, by institution, as contrasted with the currently available data on education majors. One of the panel members knew that the de- sired information is currently collected by the state education agency and arranged to send it to the district. Brief reports of the conferences should be prepared so that districts and states that were not represented among the conferees could also benefit from the exchange of ideas.
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182 PRECOLLEGE SCIENCE AND ANATHEMA TICS TEACHERS By maintaining frequent contact with the individuals who make the decisions that affect teachers, much can be learned about the flow of teachers through the school system, and the quality adjustments made in this flow by aggressive recruiting, raising or lowering standards in hiring, providing inse~vice training, and using incentives to attract and retain teachers. *The panel recommends that the National Center for Education Statistics convene (a) an annual conference of dissect personnel who are responsible for the decisions that affect teacher Apply, demand, and quality to maintain an awareness of the current~issues in teacher supply and demand; (b) periodic conferences of state personnel who prepare state and local supply and demand projections to facilitate improvement in these models; and (c) occasional conferences to promote communication between state personnel who produce relevant data and district personnel who would find these data useful in their recruitment activities and in development of dissect policies concerning teachers. The panel learned much from the interaction with district personnel. We believe that staff of the National Center for Education Statistics would find it equally rewarding and that the center's surveys and analyses would be enriched by such interaction.
Representative terms from entire chapter: