Comparing Robert Noyce Scholars and Non- Robert Noyce Scholars Perceptions of Teaching
Staffing high schools with highly qualified math and science teachers continues to be a challenge for school districts across the U.S. (NCTAF, 2010; Ingersoll & Merril, 2010). One way to address this challenge is to offer financial incentives, in the form of scholarships or grants, for high performing college students to become high school mathematics or science teachers. Oftentimes, attached to these financial incentives are service commitments to which recipients must agree to teach for a specified number of years in a high-need school or district. Investigating the impact these types of scholarship programs have on the high school math and science teacher staffing issue is an area that warrants more research. To help identify some characteristics of students involved in these types of financial incentive programs, our study investigates how the Robert Noyce Scholarship Program influenced students’ decisions to become a high school mathematics or science teachers and their dispositions about teaching in schools. In this study, we administered a 70 item survey to 61 participants (29 experimental group, 32 control group) during the summer of 2015. Latent variables were created using Exploratory Factor Analysis and differences between the experimental and control groups were tested with the Mann-Whitney U and Chi-Square tests. Findings indicate statistically significant differences in three areas: (a) scholarship recipients’ decisions to become a high school mathematics or science teacher, (b) plans for graduate education, and (c) teacher preparation.