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Effect of STEM Faculty Engagement in MSP--A Longitudinal Perspective: A Year 4 RETA Report


The Math and Science Partnership (MSP) program is a major national research and development effort that supports innovative partnerships to improve K-12 student achievement in mathematics and science. Deep engagement of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplinary faculty is a hallmark of this program. The program posits that disciplinary faculty hold the knowledge that K-12 teachers need, and that if faculty are substantially involved, the chain of professional knowledge will be strengthened and result in improved student achievement. Westat's research, evaluation, and technical assistance (RETA) grant aims to examine this assumption empirically. Specifically, we are asking how STEM faculty are engaged in MSP. Does the involvement make any difference in enhancing teacher quality and increasing student achievement? And are there particular circumstances in which certain types of involvement contribute more or less than others on these dimensions? In essence, we ask what works, for whom, and under what circumstance through the following six research questions:

  1. What methods (i.e., strategies, practices, and policies) are being used by the projects to engage STEM faculty in their activities, and how do these differ by type of institution of higher education (IHE)?

  2. What levels of involvement are garnered by various methods at different types of IHEs?

  3. To what extent does STEM faculty involvement contribute to increases in K-12 teacher content and pedagogical knowledge?

  4. To what extent does STEM faculty involvement contribute to student achievement?

  5. What are the policy implications for engaging STEM faculty?

  6. How does faculty involvement evolve, and does it appear to have the ability to be sustained?