The immediate research results of the PRISE project reflect and inform the current national agenda surrounding the dilemmas of teacher quality and teacher shortage in high school science. Other dilemmas in science education inevitably will emerge in the future. Solutions to future problems will require highly qualified policy researchers who can call stakeholders together to plan and implement research studies that objectively inform and collaboratively recommend actions based on research findings. The preparation of a new generation of research fellows allows PRISE the opportunity to extend its impact beyond immediate research goals.
PRISE prepares research fellows, which extends the project's research goals to include broader impacts on the field of science education. While PRISE strives to answer pressing questions about the current state of high school science teaching in Texas, PRISE also prepares a cadre of policy researchers. These graduate policy researchers are receiving on-the-job experiences that link science education research with reform in policies and procedures to recruit, induct, renew, and retain high school science teachers.
The PRISE research agenda calls for the collection of information about the teacher professional continuum as it relates to high school science teachers in order to inform the development of policies that will alleviate current shortages. The research agenda also integrates professional opportunities and research experiences to prepare graduate student researchers who are seeking advanced degrees in science education. These graduate students provide their expertise as experienced secondary school teachers and supervisors who inform the research project while preparing to become science education policy researchers with Ph.D.s in science education.
Graduate research experiences include the following:
|1.||Literature review, design, and composition of white papers explaining the conceptual framework for the project;|
|2.||Hands-on research experiences in designing instruments, collecting field-based information, and analyzing the results of data collected about the policies and practices of Texas high schools;|
|3.||Graduate coursework in current topics related to reform in science teaching and learning practices;|
|4.||Teaching experiences in preparing new science teachers;|
|5.||Interactive seminars in policy research;|
|6.||Design of their own original research studies related to aspects of the high school science teacher professional continuum; and|
|7.||Representing the PRISE Project through presentations of research results at state, regional, and national research meetings.|
Fellows are full-time graduate students who interact regularly with university researchers, school-based personnel and other science education graduate students to sustain a community of learners in the Department of Teaching, Learning, and Culture at Texas A&M University.