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Emerging Trends and Recruitment Initiatives of the STEM Teaching Workforce: An Analysis of Teacher Quality, Motivators of Entry, and Gender Effects Andrea Dykyj, Alicia Haelen, and Victoria Hess New York University


The expansion of careers in science and technology has garnered the attention of the industry leaders and governmental agencies committed to meeting these workforce demands. United States job growth in Science, Technology, Engineering and Science (STEM) fields is projected to far outpace job growth in non-STEM fields over course of the next decade (National Science Foundation, 2012). Simultaneously, there is a recognized shortage of professionals who are qualified to fulfill these employment needs. To better prepare students for employment in STEM fields, policymakers have placed an increased emphasis on developing primary and secondary-level (K-12) education initiatives in math and science, with a particular focus on attracting highly qualified STEM graduates to teaching. In this paper, we look to identify the effects of graduate, time, and policy characteristics on the likelihood of the nations trained scientists and engineers entering the teaching profession as STEM teachers. Our analysis focuses on broader employment and workforce trends, analyzing the impact of policy initiatives on changes in STEM professionals choosing career paths in teaching. Utilizing STEM professional data, we aim to identify whether professionals who are highly qualified in content-related knowledge are moving into the STEM teaching field at a greater rate, given recent policy trends. In our analysis we seek to answer the following three research questions: 1) Has there been a change in the proportion of content-knowledgeable and/or credentialed STEM degree holders entering the field of STEM teaching? 2) For those who did not originally plan on becoming teachers, what reasons motivated their career changes into the STEM teaching profession? 3) Have recent STEM reform initiatives changed the composition of the STEM teaching workforce, specifically the motivating factors and the gender composition of those entering the field? Considering these research questions, we hypothesized that the increase in STEM education initiatives influenced the composition of the STEM teaching workforce to include more content-knowledgeable and credentialed professionals over time. Additionally, we believe that the reasons for entering STEM teaching differ from reasons for entering another profession


in key ways. Finally, we posit that the reasons for entering the STEM teaching profession differ by gender in systematic ways that can be mitigated by target policies. To test our hypotheses, we employ education and employment data captured in the Scientists and Engineers Statistical Data System (SESTAT). In line with our first hypothesis, our results indicate a steady growth in the STEM teaching workforce, with an increasing number of credentialed and content-knowledgeable individuals entering the field. In addressing our second hypothesis, we find that common determinants of career change, as measured by SESTAT , were not positively associated with professionals switching careers into STEM teaching. Lastly, we found empirical evidence to support our third hypothesis regarding systematic differences in workforce composition by gender; specifically, we find highly qualified male career changes are less likely to enter STEM teaching than female career changers.

II. Policy and Background The current job market underscores the need for qualified STEM professionals and, consequentially, the need for an increase preparedness of students to take on these opportunities. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that Science and Engineering occupations will grow by 20.6 percent from 2008 to 2018, more than double the projected 10.1 percent growth for all occupations during that same time period (Ibid, 2012). The drive for major improvements within STEM education, however, is not a recent movement. Since the 1980s, US policymakers have recognized a need for improvement in K-12 math and science education when A Nation at Risk (1983) created a sense of urgency around the lack of math and science student preparedness. A Nation at Risk emphasized the need for educational improvement in these subjects and criticized the lack of standards around math and science education. The following decades witnessed the ushering in of the standards movement; however, while the shortcomings of math and science education had been highlighted, the policies focused on broader education reform, rather than a targeted improvement in these particular subjects. No Child Left Behind (2002) continued the standards movement, but also included objectives that underscored the importance of highly qualified teachers. No Child Left Behind attempted to eliminate achievement gaps in math and reading by setting the goal that all students be taught by a highly qualified teacher (HQT), defined as a teacher with at least a bachelors degree, full State certification, and a demonstrated knowledge of the subject (Spellings, 2005).


In 2005, Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings stated that many states had improved their teaching force, with a majority of teachers meeting the HQT requirements. A substantial move towards STEM-focused educational policies came in 2009, when President Barack Obama launched Educate to Innovate, an initiative specifically targeting improvement in math and science education. As a concerted effort between the Federal Government, non-profits, corporations and science societies, Educate to Innovate seeks to drastically improve American students performance in math and science. The policy includes a large federal investment in STEM education; initiatives aimed at the broadening of the STEM talent pool; and the 100kin10 plan, which aims to prepare 100,000 new and effective STEM teachers over the next 10 years. 100Kin10 specifically recognizes the importance highly qualified teachers in student outcomes and the need to recruit and develop highly qualified STEM teachers (, 2013). The focus of Educate to Innovate on teacher quality is supported by research that continues to highlight the importance of teacher quality in student outcomes. Darling-Hammond (1999) found that policies focused on teacher quality are related to improvements in student performance. Specific research on the role of mathematics content knowledge in the classroom also highlights the importance of teacher quality and content knowledge in student performance. Ball, Thames, and Phelps (2008) examined the unique demands of mathematics education, and the impact of teachers with common content knowledge versus a more advanced, expert-like knowledge of ones subject area. While the teachers with common content knowledge were able to meet the basic demands of the field, the teachers with specialized knowledge of their subject were better equipped to provide students with a more comprehensive education in mathematics.

III. Review of Literature Despite mounting evidence supporting the recruitment of highly specialized subject-area educators, many programs and schools continue to struggle in their efforts to draw highly qualified STEM educators into the classroom. In their study of the global trends in the

professional ambitions and career paths of university-level STEM students, Lee and Nason (2012) found that the majority of STEM students did not consider teaching a viable career path. The authors summarize their findings into three primary factors contributing to the predominant lack of interest among the students in pursuing careers in teaching: the lack of


conversation within STEM departments regarding the possibilities offered by a career as a STEM teacher, a pervading sense of apathy among faculty towards the recruitment and education of STEM teachers, and the narrow scope of recruitment nets for STEM teacher education programs failing to reach these key audiences (Ibid, 2012). Prior studies have identified other unique observable qualities in the STEM-talented individuals who do decide to teach differentiating these individuals from their peers who go on to pursue other careers. In their study of pre-service STEM teachers in Australia, Watt,

Richardson, and Pietsch (2007) examined the characteristics and motivations of prospective STEM teachers. The authors found significant demographic trends in gender representation (specifically, the majority of prospective mathematics teachers being male, but the majority of science candidates being female) and career switcher backgrounds of students (where 90 percent of the candidates reported having come from working in other STEM-related occupations). The authors also identified trends in motivation including choosing to teach for the intrinsic value[s] of the field, shap[ing] the future of students, and making a meaningful social contribution (Ibid, 2007). Curtis (2012) also explored the motivational factors inspiring individuals to pursue careers as mathematics teachers. In analyzing the motivational factors reported by teachers, Curtis found strong correlations between responses indicating a desire to work with young people and the likelihood of individuals to stay or leave the field. Other high frequency responses included a passion for mathematics and a desire to help meet the high need for math teachers in the U.S. education system. Curtis also noted a strong sense of idealism driving many of the newly entering/beginner teachers into the field a stark contrast to the harsh realities of the field she found to be driving many of the same teachers out (Ibid, 2012). The predominance of females in the teaching profession also inspired research on motivational differences by gender: specifically focusing on the factors motivating males. In her study on practicing male primary school teachers in New Zealand, Cushman (2006) found that the reasons motivating males to become teachers were similar to those described by females: many of the respondents citing a similar desire to work with children and to provide an invaluable moral service to the world as the primary reasons for choosing teaching. In contrast to the career paths more commonly taken by females, Cushman found that male teachers were


more likely to have worked in other careers before settling on teaching initially deterred by the social stigma associated with teaching being traditionally female-dominated field. Similar to Cushman, Drudy et al. (2005) also found that many males were attracted to the teaching profession out of the same sense of altruism and desire to work with children expressed by females. Upon further examination, however, the authors also observed differences in the nature of the respective motives of males and females in deciding to become teachers. On average, Drudy et. al. found that males were influenced by broader external factors like the favorable job conditions of teaching, and the worthwhile nature of the job, while females were drawn to teaching by factors specific to the field itself, such as the mechanics of teaching, or working with children. Given the broader focus of male motivation in choosing to teach, teaching is a much more readily substitutable career for males, making males less likely to enter the field, and more likely to leave. In her study of second-career teachers in Chicago, Chambers (2010) found that many respondents had considered teaching in the past, but had been deterred from entering the field by reasons including financial pressures, discouragement from family, and the fear of the harsh realities of teaching (for example, school violence, classroom management issues, and the lack of administrative support). Many respondents also believed that their previous experiences were beneficial to students, allowing them to share skills, perspectives, and innovative approaches to teaching with their students, rooted in real-world applications of subject matter.


Empirical Framework In this paper, we draw on data collected as part of the National Science Foundations Scientists and Engineers Statistical Data System (SESTAT) to study the composition of the STEM teaching workforce. SESTAT is a comprehensive database that provides researchers and policymakers with information on the employment, education, and demographic characteristics of the nations scientists and engineers. Our study is designed in such a way that allows us to examine the relationships between attributes of degree holders and their degrees and entrance into STEM teaching. Specifically, we operationalized measures of degree holder demographics, field of study, level and time of degree, and reasons for career change to estimate the likelihood of an individual becoming a STEM teacher. a. The SESTAT Database


To study the relationship between degree holder attributes and workforce composition we use employment and education data captured in SESTAT. The SESTAT population consists of individuals who have received a bachelors degree or higher in a science, engineering, or health or related field from a postsecondary institution within the United States and who are either working or have been trained in a science and engineering field. To our advantage, this broad spectrum of disciplines includes technology and mathematics-related fields. To efficiently capture information on this extensive population, the data are integrated from three component surveys: the Survey of Doctorate Recipients (SDR), the National Survey of College Graduates (NSCG) and the National Survey of Recent College Graduates (NSRCG). Each survey slightly varies in the target populations, questionnaires, and sampling methodology; together, however, they provide a comprehensive profile of the nations scientist and engineers. The SESTAT component surveys have been administered every two to three years beginning in the 1970s, each applying the same survey reference date to ensure measurement consistency. Since data became publically available in 1993, SESTAT has contained on average 100,000 records per round; to illustrate the vast growth of this subpopulation, weighted counts indicate 11.6 million individuals in 1993 and 26.9 million in 2010 constitute the nations SESTAT population. While these data provide a unique lens through which to analyze career paths of the SESTAT population, they come with few substantial shortcomings. First, as Stephan and Levin (2005) found to be problematic, SESTAT only examines patterns of retention for survey eligible individuals. It also underrepresents important groups of scientists and engineers in the United States, including immigrants with science and engineering degrees earned outside the U.S. and college graduates with outside degrees who later entered science or engineer-related occupations. Second, we face empirical limitations due to insufficient data on the geographic location of the respondents and their employers. This is particularly problematic in our study because of the substantial between- and within-state differences across workforce and industry compositions, school characteristics, and teacher certification policy. In addition to studying the effects of state or local STEM education initiatives, this information would provide considerable insight on teacher composition as it relates to socioeconomic factors and educational outcomes.

STEM TEACHING WORKFORCE TRENDS b. Study Sample and Descriptive Statistics

Since no state in the U.S. requires primary and secondary school teachers to acquire doctorate degrees, we limit our analysis to individuals having earned no higher than a masters degree; thus we only use data from the NSCG and NSRCG. The NSRCG includes a crosssectional probability-based sample design covering individuals who received a bachelors or masters degree in a science or engineering field within about three years of the survey reference period. The NSCG is unique in that it is a longitudinal study of persons identified as having at least a bachelor's degree in any degree field, whereas only those trained and/or working in a science of engineering field are eligible for SESTAT. Therefore, it is possible ones highest degree is not in a science or engineering field; however, since we can assume they were trained in one of these fields at some point during their education, and are interested in the outcomes relating to content knowledgeableness, we retain all degrees regardless of field of study. We limit our analyses to four cross-sections of data measured from the most recent survey rounds: 2003, 2006, 2008, and 2010. These years provide for more rich, consistently measured and reported data than prior rounds. In this sample includes individuals having earned a degree between 1950 and 2006 and who were employed in the workforce at the time of measurement. Descriptive statistics of our sample are provided in Tables 1a through 1d in the appendix. While some individuals may be followed across multiple survey rounds in the NSCG, and thus included in our sample more than once, we do not follow them overtime. Instead, with the application of population weights, we study the representativeness of these cases in the SESTAT population for a given reference year. Our sample includes a total of 222,274 unique individual-year observations including 17,434 (or 7.8 percent) STEM teachers. When comparing weighted degree attributes, overall we observe 40.3 percent of observations majored in a STEM field for their highest degree of study. Aggregated by profession, 55.3 percent of STEM teachers and 38.9 percent of those employed in other professions had majored in a STEM field. We see less substantial differences across professions by degree level where, overall, about one third had earned a masters degree, constituting 38.4 percent of STEM teachers and 33 percent of other professionals. Although more individuals are employed in fields other than STEM teaching for any given decade of degree receipt, we see that the overall proportion of the SESTAT population entering STEM teaching has grown at a faster rate.


We are also interested in how the composition of the STEM teaching workforce has changed over time. Table 1b shows prevalence of workforce entry, aggregated by the decade of degree receipt; here we see STEM teachers have occupied about 8 percent of the overall SESTAT population since the 1960s. Meanwhile, the percent of STEM majors from the 1960s becoming STEM teachers (73.2 percent) is about 16 percent greater than in the 1970s (56.9 percent); this proportion drops further for degree earners in the 1980s (54.3 percent), rises in the 1990s (58 percent), but reaches is lowest proportion of teachers (we are exclude degrees earned in the 1950s because of the small sample size) in the 2000s (52.8 percent). Meanwhile, we see a steady growth in the percent of masters degree recipients over the decades becoming STEM teachers. The variability in the proportions of STEM majors and masters degree recipients may be consequential of the substantial increase in the number of STEM degrees measured in the data from decade to decade. To that end, our parametric model will serve to quantify systematic trends in the deviations of quality through time. Moreover and possibly consequentially, STEM teachers indicated their occupation was related to their field of study more often than other professionals (90.6 versus 78.2 percent). However, this difference may not be a reliable comparative measure of relatedness across our two categories of professions because other professional may have been trained in a STEM field and employed in an outside field, or trained in a non-STEM field and employed in the STEM field. We assume, nonetheless, that STEM teachers were trained in STEM-related fields. Furthermore, the proportion of overall career changers who entered STEM teaching versus another profession was 5 percent (1,732 vs. 34,554); yet, as Table 1c depicts, the influential factors in entering a profession did not differ substantially between groups. Lastly, Table 1d presents reasons for career change into STEM teaching across gender. A larger proportion of males (compared to females) enter the profession for pay and promotion opportunities or because no suitable job is available in his field. Females, however, enter the profession more so than males because they desire a career change or for family-related reasons. We predict our empirical model will help explain these differences and reveal significant relationships. c. Measures Many of the measures captured in the SESTAT surveys are of relevance to our research but are not directly applicable or aligned with our empirical framework; thus, for the purposes of our study, we generated several operational variables from the public use data. The predicted



variable of interest is a measure of employment status, indicating being employed as a primary or secondary school STEM teacher. The preliminary outcome measure is an indicator for whether an individual majored in a STEM related field (in ones highest degree received), and is used as an initial indicator of workforce quality. We operationalize this measure in part because subject major is considered a relevant factor, with school administrators often making a substantial effort to attract math and science teachers who are trained in their subjects (Angrist and Guryan, 2008). Our second quality indicator identifies the level of ones highest degree as a masters versus a bachelors degree. Both indicators are aggregates of broader major1 and degree type variables. Further, an interaction between these two indicators was derived to measure the marginal effect of having both of these qualifications. Although operationalizing these measures as proxies for teacher quality are generally weak and have not been found to influence educational outcomes with any consistency (Hanushek1986 & 1997), our data do not include more plausible teacher-specific measures, such as teacher test scores or the quality of teachers' undergraduate institution (Ehrenberg and Brewer 1994). Nonetheless, the specific academic subjects of interest in our study are those whose underlying disciplines are associated with a considerable range of occupational options. That is, those trained in a STEM field, and further those with masters degrees, are likely to have more opportunities outside of teaching than for those trained in other fields; while those who become STEM teachers, specifically, are presumed to be fitted and knowledgeable in both teaching and their discipline. To identify long-term trends in the proportion of STEM teachers measured by SESTAT, we grouped degree conferment years into decades, extending from the 1950s through the 2000s2. We also include interactions between the decade indicators and both the STEM major and masters degree indicators to assess quality of the teaching workforce over time within and across decades.

Although the target population of SESTAT includes degree holders in science, engineering, and health -related fields, the public use data is aggregated in a way to differentiate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics degree major from other majors. We assigned majors under any of these categories to one, and all others to zero. We categorize the following majors as a STEM discipline: STEM: Computer and mathematical sciences, Biological sciences, Other biological/agricultural/environmental life sciences, Chemistry, Physics and astronomy, Other physical and related sciences, Chemical engineering, Civil engineering, Electrical, electronics and communications engineering, Mechanical engineering, Other engineering, and Other science and engineering-related. Non-STEM degrees include: Economics, Political and related sciences, Psychology, Sociology and anthropology, Other Social sciences, Health-related fields, Management and administration, and Other nonscience and engineering. 2 The latest degree year in the data is 2006, thus the 2000 decade indicator only includes degrees earned from 2000 to 2006.



Since this data source is not specific to teacher training and the teacher workforce, a considerable limitation we face is that we do not observe why degree holders pursuing teaching did not become teachers. We are also unable to observe trends in satisfaction with job conditions in addition to school characteristics and the geographic local of the degree holder. One way we overcome these shortcomings is by assessing heterogeneity across career changers and their chosen occupations. Here, we operationalized indicators of the most important factors influencing decisions to work in an area outside of his or her field of study measured in the data. These reasons include: pay or promotion opportunities, working conditions (hours, use of

equipment, working environment), job location, change in career or professional interests, family-related reasons (children, spouses job moved), and a job in ones highest degree field was not available. Notably, these reasons are only applicable to those indicating their occupation is not related to their field, which we acknowledge as another limitation in that it prevents us from measuring why STEM teachers who anticipated entering the field did so. In addition, the term related is subjective and therefore could be a source of measurement bias. Nonetheless, we find this information useful in measuring characteristics of career changers with respect to whether or not reasons for entering the STEM teaching profession differ substantially from entering another field. The analysis concludes with a focus on differential effects of gender on the likelihood of becoming a STEM teacher. To that end, we include interactions between gender (where a value of one indicates male) and the reason indicators, as well as with indicators of having children, majoring in a STEM field, and having a masters degree. A continuous measure of age as well as race and ethnicity indicators are controlled throughout the analysis; although such characteristics are theoretically important confounders in education and occupation outcomes, they are not a primary focus of our research. We include the following race and ethnicity categories, as measured in SESTAT: (1) white, non-Hispanic, (2) Asian, and (3) underrepresented minorities3.


Empirical Methods We operationalize each of the aforementioned measures empirically through a Generalized Linear Model framework. Because the outcome of interest is a binary dependent

These may differ from traditional race and ethnicity categories for three reasons: disclosure avoidance, research interests, and relative representativeness in the STEM workforce.



variable, we use logit regressions to predict the odds of a degree holder becoming a STEM teacher given a relevant characteristic. In the case of a binary response variable, the assumptions of linear regression are not valid; for instance, the relationship between the dependent and independent variables is nonlinear and the error terms are not normally distributed. The logit model instead estimates the non-linear relationship between predictors and outcomes where the logit estimator represents the marginal odds of an event occurring (Y = 1), or how many more times likely it is to occur, given a 1 unit increase in an explanatory variable and with all others held constant. Our initial hypothesis stems from the notion that the composition of STEM teachers has changed over the time to include more content-knowledgeable professionals. To test this presumption, we specify STEM teaching as a function of quality and time indicators. The first model, shown below, predicts the odds of a degree holder becoming a STEM teacher as a function of STEM major status. This status serves as a proxy of content knowledgeability, where those who majored in a STEM field are considered more effective in teaching a STEM discipline than those who majored in other fields. We expect the estimate of STEM major to be positively related to becoming a STEM teacher. = + STEM_majorit + i + it

The outcome of interest, yit is the predicted probability of degree holder i becoming a STEM teacher at time t; term is equivalent to the log of the odds of yit taking on a value of 1. The

is the estimated coefficient of the indicator variable, STEM_major. In its basic form, it

represents an increase or decrease in the log odds of becoming a STEM teacher. To estimate the function in terms of odds ratios, we take the inverse log of both sides, where represents the is the

odds of individual I becoming a STEM teacher given STEM_major equals 1. Further,

intercept representing outcomes in the event of no model significant or when all predictors are set to zero. The term i represents the combined effect on yit of all unobserved variables that are constant over time, while it represents random variation at each point in time. To broaden our analysis to the greater STEM population, each model is estimated using SESTAT integrated weights4.

The target populations of each component survey overlaps with that of the SESTAT target population, as well as the target populations of the other component surveys. Sections of the SESTAT population where the populations of the component surveys overlap are known as overlap domains. Individuals within overlap domains have non-zero probability of selection in more than one of the component surveys. To avoid bias in



The second specification controls for having a masters degree, versus a bachelors degree, along with selected degree holder characteristics presumably related to both an individuals major and career outcome. These attributes include: race, gender, age, and whether or not the degree holder has children. Specification II can be expressed as follows: = where + STEM_majorit + Masters + Xit + i + it,

is the estimated effect of having a masters degree, Xit represents the vector of is the estimated effect of characteristic i.

characteristics for respondent i at time t and

Our next two specifications attempt to identify general trends in the STEM teaching workforce growth over time and the growth in quality over time. First, in Specification III we include decade indicators of highest degree receipt to determine if and how the time period an individual received his or her degree is related to both majoring in a STEM field and becoming a STEM teacher. We then add degree decade interactions with indicators of majoring in a STEM field and having a masters degree; this specification allows us to identify the extent to which content knowledge and average level of education of STEM teachers differs within and across decades. Again, we hypothesize that recent initiatives in STEM education training, coupled with an increasing number of states requiring masters degrees, have caused more qualified degree holders to enter the STEM teaching workforce today than in years past. Beyond that, major and degree level are expected to reflect variations of quality over time and thus provide insight on the successes or failures of targeted program initiatives. Specification IV can be expressed as follows: = + + STEM_majorit + Mastersit + DM it + i + it Xit + D

DS it +

Here, Dit represents a vector of decade indicators, with the 2000s omitted as reference, and predictors DS it and DM it represent vectors of interactions between degree decade and STEM major and masters degree indicators, respectively5. Expanding on the developmental aspects of the quality of STEM teachers, we turn to an analysis of career changers by modeling on a set of potential mot ivational factors and

the SESTAT estimates due to multiple chances of selection, this multiplicity was be accounted for when constructing the integrated SESTAT weight from the sampling weights of the component surveys. 5 The latter two groups of measures are omitted in Specification III.



influences in entering an unanticipated profession. These include individuals whose occupation is not related to their degree of study. Within this group, we estimate the strength of certain reasons for entering their current profession in predicting the odds that a given reason led them into a career as a STEM teacher. Specification V can be expressed as:

= + where teacher. DS it +

STEM_majorit + Mastersit + DM it + Reason it + i + it,

Xit +

is the estimated relationship between career changing motive l and becoming a STEM

Our final two models evaluate the added effect of gender on many of the relevant predictors from the previous analyses, allowing us to identify the marginal effect of being male and having some other attribute on the likelihood of becoming a STEM teacher. We hypothesize male STEM teachers will differ significantly from females in terms of reasons they entered the profession, as well as in quality. Specifically, males will be less likely to hold masters degrees and major in STEM as a corollary of labor market trends and job availability. To assess these relationships, we first add interactions of being male and each reason indicator in Specification VI, and then introduce quality measure interactions in Specification VII, which can be expressed as follows:

= + DM it +

STEM_majorit +

Mastersit +

Xit +


DS it

Reason it + (Male Reason) it + (male STEM_major) it + (male masters) it + i + it

Our data are cross-sectional, therefore we are unable to discount other causal interpretations (Garet et al., 2001). Instead, we are able to identify the magnitude and direction of relationships of interest.


Results Table 2 contains the estimated effects of degree holder characteristics on becoming STEM teachers. The estimated effects are interpreted directly as the log of the odds of becoming



a STEM teacher; however, for ease of interpretation, we translate and discuss them in terms of odds estimates, as explained above. a. Growth in quality over time of degree receipt Specifications I through IV report results measuring the quality of the STEM teaching workforce over time. Overall, we find substantial evidence supporting our hypothesis that the quality of the STEM teaching workforce is systematically increasing over time. Specification I includes the core specification regressing STEM teaching on the indicator of having a STEM degree. Here we find having majored in a STEM field is associated with a 1.94 increase in the odds of being a STEM teacher. This effect remains positive and statistically significant across specifications, indicating STEM majors are more likely to enter the STEM teaching profession than those who majored in outside fields. While this is an encouraging finding, we undoubtedly expect other attributes to also explain career choice. To that end, in Specification II, we include degree holder demographics to identify the extent to which they may be related to, and therefore bias the effect of, having a STEM degree. Here, the estimated odds increase to 2.07, which may be attributable to the negative and statistically significant estimates associated with being of any other race than white and was initially biasing the estimate of STEM degree downwards. We also introduce the effect of having a masters degree in this specification. Although we are not able to partial out the effects of degree requirements varying across states, we see overall, having a masters is associated with a 1.46 odds for becoming a STEM teacher compared to only having earned a bachelors degree. Next, we find trends across time of degree receipt, where recently earned degrees are more likely to predict individuals in the SESTAT target population becoming STEM teachers. In other words, graduating in any decade prior to 2000 is associated with significantly less odds of becoming a teacher than having graduated after 2000. Having received a degree in the 1960s and 1970s put graduates at odds against becoming a STEM teacher by .49 and .69, respectively. compared to those earning a degree in the 2000s. These odds have continued to grow through the 1980s (.71) and 1990s (.81), becoming less negative (closer to 1) over time indicating a statistically significant growth in the number of STEM trained individual entering the STEM teaching workforce. Furthermore, when controlling for decade of degree receipt, the odds associated with majoring in a STEM degree increases to 2.12 while those related to having a



masters degree decrease to 1.36, suggesting time-of-degree imposed a downward bias on the effect of having a STEM degree and an upward bias on masters degree. Similarly, when controlling for interactions between quality indicators with time of degree receipt, we find the prior estimates of having a STEM major and having a masters degree on STEM teaching were slightly bias downward. Specifically, the odds of individuals having either majored in STEM or earned a masters degree is becoming less negative compared to odds of similar graduates in the 2000s. We see in Specification IV the odds of becoming a STEM teacher given one majored in STEM increases to 2.29 when controlling for quality in a given decade. While there is little difference, and a slight decrease in the odds of STEM majors in the 1970s and 1980s entering the profession (1.76 and 1.74, respectively) compared to outside majors, STEM majors in the 1990s entered with a substantially larger odds of 2.06. We find a similar trend, though to a lesser degree for the effect of having a masters degree. The odds of becoming a STEM teacher for masters degree recipients was about 1.15 greater than for bachelor degree recipients in each decade from 1950s to 1980s. The odds for masters degree recipients in 1990s entering STEM teaching; however, is 4.39 greater than that of their bachelor degree receiving counterparts. Another way to interpret these results is to assess the quality of graduates entering STEM teaching as compared to the 2000s. When doing so, we find the odds of STEM majors becoming STEM teachers increases at an increasing rate, nearing closer to the odds of STEM teaching for STEM degree earners in 2000s; a similar pattern holds true for master degree recipients. While the effect of STEM degrees earned in 1990s remains negative and the effect of having a masters degree in the 1990s reverses direction, both lose their statistical significance, indicating no difference between the odds for them and their counterparts in the 2000s becoming STEM teachers. This nonetheless provides evidence that the quality of the STEM teaching workforce, in terms of the proportion of STEM majors and master degree recipients entering the field, has increased over time. While these finding align with policy initiatives designed to attract and hire more qualified STEM teachers, we can only partially attribute them to these direct efforts and the overall appeal to the field, as they may also point to workforce trends related to broader economic and exogenous factors impacting career choice. b. Incentives for career-changers



Specification V assesses the incentives for changing careers into STEM teaching; specifically, whether reasons for entering STEM teaching differ from reasons for entering another profession. This specification includes the SESTAT survey options for reasons that an individual chose an occupation that is not related to their major field of study. The options provided in the SESTAT survey include pay or promotion opportunities, working conditions, job location, change in career or professional interests, family-related reasons, job in ones highest degree field was not available, and other unspecified reasons. The inclusion of these variables in Specification V does not reveal bias in the findings related to majoring in STEM or masters degree receipt in earlier specifications. The results do however show that all of the reasons assessed are associated with negative odds compared to other unspecified reasons for changing careers. Of the reasons included in the survey, the lowest odds of individuals changing careers into STEM teaching are associated with family related reasons and location: placing 0.24 and 0.25 odds, respectively, for becoming STEM teachers. Based on these results, we conclude that individuals are switching into teaching for reasons not collected by this data set. These reasons could include a sense of idealism or a desire to work with young people, reasons that have previously been cited as incentives to go into teaching but are not provided as options within these surveys. c. Variation in workforce quality by gender The incorporation of the male gender interactions in Specifications VI and VII further diminishes bias and increases precision in the estimates of teacher workforce quality for the overall population. After controlling for the added impact of gender, the odds of becoming a STEM teacher associated with having majored in STEM and having received a masters degree both increase: having majored in STEM placing 4.02 odds for becoming a STEM teacher; and having received a masters degree placing 1.54 odds for becoming a STEM teacher. The increase in the respective impact of the having majored in STEM and having received a masters degree on increasing the likelihood of becoming a STEM teacher for individuals who possess these qualifications reveals negative bias in the original estimates where controls for highly qualified and credentialed men were not included. In addition to removing bias from the population estimates of teacher workforce quality, the incorporation of the male gender interactions into the model also reveals the differential impact of having majored in STEM and having received a masters degree on the odds of becoming a teacher for males, as



compared to females who possess these qualifications. In contrast to the trends observed in the broader population, the probability of becoming a STEM teacher is lower for males who major in STEM than it is for females who major in STEM: for every one female STEM major going into STEM teaching, there are only 0.72 males. The impact of receiving a masters degree, however, increases the odds of becoming a STEM teacher for males to a greater effect than the impact of receiving a masters degree for females: for every female masters degree receipt, there are 1.70 male masters degree recipients. While content-knowledgeable males are less likely to pursue careers as STEM teachers compared to content-knowledgeable females, these odds significantly increase (in favor of males) among those who receive a masters degree. In addition to examining differential trends in teacher workforce quality across contentknowledgeable and credentialed males and females, Specifications VI and VII also examine the circumstantial and motivational factors influencing males and females who change careers to go into teaching, including having children, location, working conditions, pay, job availability, and family-related reasons (for example, the relocation of a spouses job). Of these factors, favorable working conditions, family-related reasons, and a lack of relevant alternative job options were found to influence males to a greater degree than females to become STEM teachers. We find 4.52 males for every female become STEM teachers due to favorable working conditions, 5.03 males for every female become STEM teachers due to family-related factors, and 4.71 males for every female become STEM teachers due to the lack of relevant alternative job options. Having children, however, was the one factor found to impact females to a greater extent than males in choosing to become STEM teachers; only 0.33 males with children become STEM teachers for every female teacher with children a trend potentially attributable to the desire of males to find careers more conducive to financially supporting a family.


Conclusion Our results indicate a steady growth in proportion of credentialed and content-knowledgeable individuals the STEM teaching workforce; a promising trend that may plausibly be a derivative of policy efforts targeted towards STEM education. Furthermore, when studying motivating factors for career changers, we find common determinants of career change were more predictive of not entering STEM teaching, and thus reasons individuals decide to switch into teaching are not captured in our data. When estimating the added effects of gender, our results showed males



who have majored in STEM fields are less likely to less likely to become STEM teachers than females who majored in STEM, though among masters degree recipients, males are more likely to become STEM teachers than females. The incorporation of male interactions also revealed substantial differences across factors motivating males and females to switch careers into STEM teaching. Specifically, male career changers are more likely to enter STEM teaching for professional, career substantiating reasons, such as working conditions and if no other suitable job in their field is available. Concerns regarding the composition and development of the STEM teaching workforce, in addition to the factors that motivate individuals to enter the field remain in question. To that end, there are many directions our research can be extended upon to examine trends and inform policy. For instance, research is warranted on the types of individuals becoming STEM teachers across STEM disciplines. Specifically, research should examine whether individuals majoring in subjects more aligned with standard K-12 STEM subjects, such as math or biology, are more likely to become teachers when compared to majors less aligned with such subjects, including engineering and computer sciences. Future research on the dynamics of prior occupations among career changes would also help in identifying indicators for those more likely to switch into STEM teaching. While the current emphasis is on attracting STEM majors into teaching, further analysis should focus on retention rates among content-knowledgeable and credentialed STEM teachers. Undoubtedly, each of the aforementioned research suggestions would more informative with the inclusion of state and district information, such as teacher recruitment mandates and school attributes in identifying the impact of state and local policy on the STEM teacher workforce. Given the recent policy initiatives promoting the recruitment and development of highly qualified STEM teachers, the increase in credentialed and content-knowledgeable individuals entering the field is encouraging; however, it is important to acknowledge that we cannot infer causality between policy shifts and our empirical findings. In effort to address the issues of working conditions and pay scales that deter individuals from entering the field, STEM education policy initiatives should continue to develop opportunities for promotion and leadership among highly qualified STEM teaching candidates that validate their knowledge and prior experience. Addressing these factors would enable the education system to attract highly qualified individual into STEM teaching by foster their professional ambitions.


20 References

Chambers, D. (2010). The Real World and the Classroom: Second-Career Teachers. The Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues, and Ideas , 75(4), 212-217. Curtis, C. (2012). Why Do They Choose to Teach And Why Do They Leave? A Study of Middle School and High School Mathematics Teachers. Education, 132(4), 779. Cushman, P. (2006). Its Just Not a Real Blokes Job: Male Teachers in the Primary School. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education. 33(3): 321-338. Darling-Hammond, L. (1999). Teacher Quality and Student Achievement: A Review of State Policy Evidence. Center for the Study of Teaching and Policy. 4-48. Drudy, S., M. Martin, J. OFlynn, J., and M. Woods. (2005). Men and the Classroom: Gender Imbalances in Teaching. London: Routledge. Lee, K. and R.A Nason. (2012). The Recruitment of STEM-Talented Students into Teacher Education Programs. In Shengquan, Y. (Ed.) 2nd International STEM in Education Conference, 24-27. National Science Foundation (2012). Science and Engineering Labor Force: Scope of the S&E Workforce. Science and Engineering Indicators 2012. < /seind12/c3/c3s.htm>. Spellings, M. (2005). Letter for Chief State School Officers Regarding the Highly Qualified Teacher Provisions of No Child Left Behind. Key Policy Letters Signed by the Education Secretary or Deputy Secretary: Archived Information. < /policy/elsec/guid/secletter/051021.html>. Stephan, P.E. and S.G. Levin (2005). Leaving Careers in IT: Gender Differences in Retention. Journal of Technology Transfer, 30: 383396. Watt, H. and P. Richardson (2007). Motivational Factors Influencing Teaching as a Career Choice: Development and Validation of the FIT-Choice Scale. The Journal of Experimental Education. 75(3): 167202. (2013). Educate to Innovate. Education: Knowledge and Skills for the Jobs of the Future. <>.



Table 1a. Study Sample Descriptive Statistics: Overall and by Profession STEM Teaching Other Professions Overall standard standard standard Variable mean mean mean deviation deviation deviation K-12 STEM Teachers 1.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.083 0.276 STEM Major 0.553 0.497 0.389 0.488 0.403 0.491 Masters Degree 0.384 0.486 0.330 0.470 0.335 0.472 Male 0.605 0.489 0.540 0.498 0.545 0.498 White 0.786 0.410 0.755 0.430 0.757 0.429 Asian 0.086 0.281 0.102 0.303 0.101 0.301 Other Race 0.128 0.334 0.143 0.351 0.142 0.349 Age 43.418 11.407 43.416 11.550 43.416 11.539 Degree related to field 0.906 0.292 0.782 0.413 0.792 0.406 Degree decade 1950s 0.000 0.021 0.001 0.035 0.001 0.034 1960s 0.014 0.119 0.018 0.133 0.018 0.131 1970s 0.104 0.306 0.109 0.311 0.108 0.311 1980s 0.199 0.399 0.213 0.410 0.212 0.409 1990s 0.273 0.445 0.276 0.447 0.276 0.447 2000s 0.409 0.492 0.383 0.486 0.385 0.487 N 17,434 204,840 222,274
Note: Percentages are weighted, total frequencies are unweighted.

Table 1b. Study Sample Descriptive Statistics: Proportions of STEM teachers with STEM Majors and Master Degrees by Decade of Degree Attainment Degree Decade 1950s 1960s 1970s Variable standard standard standard mean mean mean deviation deviation deviation STEM Major 0.031 0.175 0.732 0.444 0.569 0.495 Masters Degree 0.820 0.410 0.194 0.396 0.264 0.441 N(%) 189 (4.2%) 247 (7.2%) 1,701 (8.6%) Variable STEM Major Masters Degree N(%) 1980s standard mean deviation 0.543 0.498 0.300 0.458 3,158 (8.1%) 1990s standard mean deviation 0.580 0.494 0.353 0.478 4,086 (8.0%) 2000s standard mean deviation 0.528 0.499 0.482 0.500 8,234 (7.6%)

Note: Percentages are weighted, total frequencies are unweighted. Percent of STEM teachers receiving degrees in decade is shown in parentheses.



Table 1c. Most Important Influential Factors for Working in an area outside the field of Highest Degree Entered STEM Teaching Entered Other Professions standard standard mean mean deviation deviation Pay, promotion 0.300 0.458 0.277 0.448 Work conditions 0.107 0.309 0.111 0.315 Job location 0.039 0.193 0.065 0.247 Career change 0.254 0.435 0.199 0.399 Family related reasons 0.066 0.249 0.118 0.323 Jobs not available 0.167 0.373 0.155 0.362 Other reason 0.067 0.250 0.074 0.262 N 1,732 34,554
Note: Percentages are weighted, total frequencies are unweighted.

Table 1d. Most Important Influential Factors by Gender for Working as a STEM Teacher when STEM teaching is outside the field of Highest Degree Female Male standard standard mean mean deviation deviation Pay, promotion 0.265 0.442 0.315 0.465 Work conditions 0.110 0.313 0.106 0.307 Job location 0.036 0.187 0.040 0.196 Career change 0.275 0.447 0.244 0.430 Family related reasons 0.117 0.321 0.045 0.207 Jobs not available 0.141 0.348 0.179 0.383 Other reason 0.056 0.231 0.072 0.258 N 635 1,097
Note: Percentages are weighted, total frequencies are unweighted.



Table 2. Summary of Logit Regression Predictions of the Log Odds of becoming a K-12 STEM Teacher Independent Variable I II III IV V VI STEM Major (1=yes) Masters Degree (0=Bachelors) STEM Major Masters Degree Male Asian Other Race Age Has Children (1=yes) Degree in 1950s Degree in 1960s Degree in 1970s Degree in 1980s Degree in 1990s 0.0705** (0.036) -0.4035*** (0.052) -0.1300*** (0.043) -0.0021 (0.001) 0.0342 (0.031) 0.0776** (0.036) -0.3999*** (0.052) -0.1508*** (0.043) 0.0094*** (0.003) 0.0437 (0.032) -1.4988*** (0.500) -0.7196*** (0.129) -0.3900*** (0.088) -0.3400*** (0.062) -0.2126*** (0.044) 0.6624*** (0.032) 0.7283*** (0.038) 0.3790*** (0.034) 0.7492*** (0.037) 0.3044*** (0.038) 0.8275*** (0.068) 0.4153*** (0.076) 0.1022 (0.067) 0.0819** (0.036) -0.4285*** (0.054) -0.1529*** (0.043) 0.0096*** (0.003) 0.0328 (0.032) -2.0896** (1.021) -0.6269*** (0.211) -0.1373 (0.129) -0.0820 (0.108) -0.0512 (0.085) 0.7642*** (0.069) 0.3006*** (0.076) 0.1561** (0.067) 0.0730** (0.037) -0.4289*** (0.054) -0.1504*** (0.043) 0.0091*** (0.003) 0.0254 (0.032) -1.9902* (1.028) -0.5678*** (0.210) -0.0617 (0.128) -0.0550 (0.108) -0.0318 (0.085) 0.7648*** (0.069) 0.2991*** (0.076) 0.1550** (0.067) 0.1314*** (0.051) -0.4307*** (0.054) -0.1520*** (0.043) 0.0091*** (0.003) 0.1427*** (0.048) -1.9936* (1.029) -0.5766*** (0.210) -0.0637 (0.128) -0.0632 (0.108) -0.0418 (0.085)

VII 1.3922*** (0.067) 0.4374*** (0.078) 0.1973*** (0.067) 0.8798*** (0.078) -0.4274*** (0.053) -0.1503*** (0.044) 0.0096*** (0.003) 0.1459*** (0.049) -2.1495** (1.033) -0.7418*** (0.216) -0.1998 (0.132) -0.1207 (0.110) -0.0766 (0.084)



STEM major 1950s STEM major 1960s STEM major 1970s STEM major 1980s STEM major 1990s Masters 1950s Masters 1960s Masters 1970s Masters 1980s Masters 1990s Most important reason working outside of degree field Pay, promotion opportunities Working conditions Location Change in career Family-related Job in major field not available

1.0634 (1.157) -0.0486 (0.202) -0.2821** (0.110) -0.2751*** (0.091) -0.1037 (0.082) -0.2565 (0.222) -0.2913** (0.116) -0.2996*** (0.087) -0.2646*** (0.079) 1.0634 (1.157)

1.1358 (1.163) -0.0192 (0.201) -0.2866*** (0.110) -0.2684*** (0.091) -0.1030 (0.082) -0.2513 (0.220) -0.2689** (0.117) -0.2821*** (0.087) -0.2555*** (0.079) 1.1358 (1.163) -0.7713*** (0.084) -0.8939*** (0.189) -1.4002*** (0.163) -0.6165*** (0.103) -1.4210*** (0.134) -0.8691*** (0.084)

1.0999 (1.165) -0.0351 (0.201) -0.2983*** (0.110) -0.2564*** (0.092) -0.0873 (0.082) -0.2457 (0.221) -0.2710** (0.117) -0.2820*** (0.087) -0.2489*** (0.079) 1.0999 (1.165) -0.9074*** (0.124) -1.3480*** (0.193) -1.7545*** (0.315) -0.8627*** (0.124) -1.7447*** (0.172) -1.3236*** (0.140)

1.3017 (1.163) 0.2101 (0.205) -0.0903 (0.114) -0.1603* (0.093) -0.0236 (0.082) -0.1583 (0.225) -0.2074* (0.122) -0.2597*** (0.089) -0.2303*** (0.080) 1.3017 (1.163) -0.8221*** (0.127) -1.3396*** (0.196) -1.7847*** (0.320) -0.8288*** (0.126) -1.7861*** (0.174) -1.3566*** (0.143)



Gender Interactions STEM major male Masters Degree male Has Children male Pay male Working conditions male Location male Change in career male Family-related male Job not available male Survey year = 2003 Survey year = 2006 Survey year = 2008 Constant Observations Pseudo R-squared -0.0184 (0.046) -0.2293*** (0.047) -0.2292*** (0.047) -2.6001*** (0.050) 222,274 0.0160 -0.0267 (0.046) -0.2350*** (0.047) -0.2374*** (0.047) -2.6730*** (0.078) 222,274 0.0218 0.0578 (0.048) -0.1824*** (0.047) -0.2069*** (0.047) -3.0178*** (0.104) 222,274 0.0232 0.0580 (0.048) -0.1816*** (0.047) -0.2074*** (0.047) -3.1271*** (0.108) 222,274 0.0241 0.0486 (0.048) -0.1789*** (0.047) -0.2134*** (0.047) -2.9353*** (0.110) 222,274 0.0346 -0.1969*** (0.063) 0.2034 (0.162) 0.7480** (0.326) 0.5356 (0.369) 0.3978** (0.185) 0.7831*** (0.271) 0.6750*** (0.173) 0.0499 (0.048) -0.1777*** (0.047) -0.2123*** (0.047) -2.9693*** (0.109) 222,274 0.0356

-1.2026*** (0.068) -0.3480*** (0.070) -0.2001*** (0.064) -0.0118 (0.164) 0.6292* (0.324) 0.4752 (0.372) 0.2598 (0.187) 0.7366*** (0.272) 0.6698*** (0.175) 0.0475 (0.048) -0.1806*** (0.047) -0.2109*** (0.047) -3.3172*** (0.115) 222,274 0.0462

Standard errors in parentheses; *** p<0.01, ** p<0.05, * p<0.1 Probability weights applied