The Use of Grounded Theory to Investigate the Role of Teacher Education on STEM Teachers' Career Paths in High-Need Schools

By Kirchhoff, Allison; Lawrenz, Frances | Journal of Teacher Education, May-June 2011 | Go to article overview

The Use of Grounded Theory to Investigate the Role of Teacher Education on STEM Teachers' Career Paths in High-Need Schools


Kirchhoff, Allison, Lawrenz, Frances, Journal of Teacher Education


Research consistently indicates that teachers play a role in student achievement (e.g., Darling-Hammond, 1999; Goldhaber & Brewer, 2000; National Research Council, 2000; Rivkin, Hanushek, & Kain, 2005). Licensure, a degree in the subject area, and performance on academic measures seem to affect student achievement positively, while teachers lacking those credentials can negatively affect their students (e.g., Clotfelter, Ladd, & Vigdor, 2007). However, teachers with these qualifications are unequally distributed across schools, with high-poverty schools often staffed with underqualified teachers compared to their wealthier counterparts (e.g., Ingersoll, 2001, 2003; Lankford, Loeb, & Wyckoff, 2002).

The problem is particularly acute in science and mathematics. For example, Ingersoll (2008) reported that over 40% of low-income students are taught by out-of-field mathematics teachers compared to 16% of their wealthier counterparts. Jacob (2007) reported that urban schools often have much higher vacancy rates in mathematics and science than suburban schools and often fill their vacancies with substitute teachers or those without full certification. Teachers also tend to leave high-need environments for schools with lower percentages of minority students, students of higher socioeconomic status (SES), and better wages (Ingersoll, 2001; Lankford et al., 2002). High-need schools have difficulty not only with staffing their classrooms with well-qualified teachers but also with retaining those teachers.

The unequal distribution of teachers is due to a myriad of reasons, including economic, cultural, and geographic influences (e.g., Boyd, Lankford, Loeb, & Wyckoff, 2005; Guarino, Santibanez, & Daley, 2006; Johnson & Birkeland, 2003) and personal considerations (e.g., Ingersoll, 2001; Stinebrickner, 2002). These elements together influence where teachers choose to teach and whether they remain in teaching. Additionally, teacher education programs often provide specialized coursework, training, and support to prepare teachers for high-need schools, and they can influence the career paths of their graduates. However, our understanding of the role of teacher education programs on teachers' career paths is limited in that much existing research focuses on comparisons between different types of programs such as alternative and traditional programs (e.g., Fisk, Prowda, & Beaudin, 2001) or has investigated outcomes related to a single teacher education program (e.g., Freedman & Appleman, 2009; Quartz et al., 2004), which may be subject to biases related to individual programs. Therefore, a different approach may be beneficial to broaden our understanding of the impact of teacher education on teachers' career paths in high-need schools.

This study used grounded theory to investigate the role of teacher education programs on the career paths of 38 Noyce scholarship recipients ("scholars"). The participants completed teacher education programs across the United States, and a grounded theory approach allowed us to investigate inductively the relative impact of their teacher education programs on their career paths. Our emergent design was guided by the initial research question: "What are Noyce scholars' reasons for the decisions made on the career paths of becoming and remaining teachers in high-need schools?" We did not seek to deduce explicitly the role of teacher education on our participants' career paths, but rather, important areas of influence emerged through our grounded theory approach, one of which was their teacher education programs. We chose to focus this study on teacher education programs because they may be more easily manipulated by teacher educators.

Theoretical Framework

A problem of utmost concern is that high-need schools, such as those with high levels of student poverty and high percentages of minority students, often experience shortages of well-qualified (see Darling-Hammond, 1999) teachers (e.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Use of Grounded Theory to Investigate the Role of Teacher Education on STEM Teachers' Career Paths in High-Need Schools
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.