The Nexus of Teacher Quality and Students’ Social Cognitive Career Outcomes in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)

Principal Investigator: Adem Ekmekci | School Mathematics Project (RUSMP) | Rice University

Principal Investigator(s):

Danya Corkin | Department of Social Sciences | University of Houston-Downtown


Investigating the factors affecting students’ motivation for pursuing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields is critical, given the fact that these fields increasingly have an integral role in the U.S. economy and defense. In response to this significant issue, Dr. Ekmekci and Dr. Corkin are exploring the extent to which high school students’ social cognitive factors and their mathematics and science teachers’ dispositions, qualifications, and practices relate to students’ persistence in STEM fields using a nationally representative dataset—the High School Longitudinal Study of 2009. Dr. Ekmekci and Dr. Corkin are also examining how these relations compare across different subpopulations of students to understand (a) whether the effects of a teacher’s characteristics and instructional practices on students’ STEM persistence varies by students’ gender, race/ethnicity, and socio-economic status; and (b) whether student motivation for pursuing STEM fields varies by gender, race/ethnicity, and socio-economic status. By identifying the necessary student motivation constructs (e.g., self-efficacy, utility value) and teacher dispositions, qualifications, and instructional practices that promote student retention in STEM fields, the results of this study will have significant implications for mathematics and science teacher preparation and professional development programs and for education policies aiming to increase and broaden students’ participation in STEM.,

Grant Type:

Small Grant

Grant Amount:




Research Area:


Topic / Subject:

Teacher Beliefs, Characteristics, Knowledge, Effectiveness, Other

Methods / Approach:

Multivariate regression analysis/other regression analysis

Disciplinary Perspective:

PsychologySocial, PsychologyCognitive, Other