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K-State Today

October 1, 2018

Nguyen publishes sweeping article in open access, peer-reviewed journal

Submitted by Patrice Scott

Tuan Nguyen

Tuan Nguyen, College of Education research assistant professor, recently published a sweeping peer-reviewed journal article concerning STEM teachers that analyzed data spanning more than two decades.

"Changes in the Demographics, Qualifications, and Turnover of American STEM Teachers, 1988–2012," was published Sept. 26 in AERA Open. Published by the American Educational Research Association, AERA Open is an open access journal that aims to advance knowledge related to education and learning through rigorous empirical and theoretical study. The scholarly article was co-authored with Christopher Redding, an assistant professor at the University of Florida. 

"We are pleased this research study has been so well received and believe it sheds a crucial light on why it is imperative to recruit highly prepared STEM teachers to high-poverty schools and districts," Nguyen said. 

In this paper, Nguyen and Redding document how demographic characteristics, qualifications, and turnover rates of a nationally representative sample of public school STEM teachers have changed from 1988 to 2012. They find STEM teachers are more likely to be female, attend selective colleges, have graduate degrees, and have STEM qualifications. These improvements in the representation, education and qualifications of STEM teachers have not, however, resulted in consistent narrowing of teacher quality gaps between teachers in high- and low-poverty schools. Moreover, although STEM teachers are no more likely to turnover than other teachers, this masks differential rates between high- and low-poverty schools. Lastly, their results highlight the importance of recruiting qualified STEM teachers to work in high-poverty schools and providing supports to help them thrive and remain in the classroom.  

Nguyen earned dual bachelor's degrees in mathematics and physics and minors in psychology and history of science from the University of Oklahoma. He earned a master's in teaching at Washington University in St. Louis and a doctorate from Vanderbilt University in education leadership and policy studies with a doctoral minor in quantitative methods. Nguyen's research interests include teacher leadership and school improvement, teacher policy and teacher labor market, and financial aid and postsecondary persistence.