Local Tech Wire STEM News

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – As part of ongoing efforts to assess U.S. high school students’ mathematics achievement and the resulting effects on curricular and career choices, has been awarded a contract to continue tracking the achievement of more than 21,000 students in more than 900 schools nationwide.

The is a study funded by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), within the U.S. Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences.

RTI’s new contract will provide resources needed to continue work started in 2007, including activities associated with three more rounds of data collection. Of particular interest is student access to and use of curricula in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, often referred to as STEM courses.

RTI is currently processing data for the fall 2009 base-year study of the 9th grade cohort of new entrants to high school. Data collected includes a mathematics assessment, a student questionnaire as well as surveys from students, parents, school administrators and counselors, and math and science teachers.

"We were pleased to be able to collect data from so many schools and such a large student population, particularly given the demands of the federal ‘No Child Left Behind’ testing, the impact of pandemic flu, and the reduced availability of school resources in the face of the economic downturn," said Debbie Herget, who leads the data collection effort at RTI.

The new five-year contract, worth nearly $25 million, will fund the first follow-up in the spring of 2012, when most of the cohort will be 11th graders, and two subsequent collections starting in 2013, a college update in the summer/fall after senior year, and high school transcripts in the 2013-2014 academic year.

In the first follow-up, researchers will return to participating schools to elicit data from administrators and counselors, as well students and parents, and will track dropouts and transfer students.

NCES plans to follow this student cohort until they reach age 26.

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