Abt Associates: Bold thinkers driving real-world impact
The National Science Foundation (NSF) introduced the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program in response to President Obama’s “Educate to Innovate” campaign and his pledge of $250 million to increase the number of K-12 math and science teachers in high-need school districts. The Program was designed to create opportunities to recruit, prepare and support new teachers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields through monetary awards to colleges and universities. The awards fund scholarships, stipends, and academic programs for undergraduate STEM majors as well as post-baccalaureate students with STEM degrees who earn a teaching credential and commit to teaching in high-need K-12 school districts. The funds can also be used to support exemplary mathematics and science teachers in becoming Master Teachers.
Abt Associates is conducting a multi-method implementation and impact study of the program. It uses both online surveys and telephone interviews to examine aspects of implementation – for example, activities teacher preparation programs use to recruit, select, prepare, and support Noyce recipients. Abt also is examining the impact of Noyce on teacher recruitment and retention and student achievement, relying upon administrative data and survey data to explore relationships among program characteristics, financial incentives, teachers’ entry and plans to continue their teaching and leadership roles, and student outcomes.
The study relies upon a quasi-experimental design to assess whether Noyce Program funding increases the number of participating institutions’ STEM-certified teachers who teach in high-need districts. This information, as well as data about the effect of having a Noyce-supported teacher on students’ math and science achievement test scores, is providing both program-level information to the NSF as well as evidence about the types of data and sample sizes needed to conduct rigorous impact studies of scholarship programs.
Abt Associates is a mission-driven, global leader in research, evaluation and program implementation in the fields of health, social and environmental policy, and international development. Known for its rigorous approach to solving complex challenges, Abt Associates is regularly ranked as one of the top 20 global research firms and one of the top 40 international development innovators. The company has multiple offices in the U.S. and program offices in more than 40 countries.