Woodrow Wilson Georgia Teaching Fellowships
About the Need for Georgia STEM Teachers
Despite recent improvements, Georgia still has a significant achievement gap, and an urgent need for math and science in high-need schools. On the 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 29% of Georgia's 8th-graders scored at or above the proficient level in mathematics, compared with a national average of 34%. However, students in Georgia's high-poverty schools scored an average of 23 points less on the 8th-grade NAEP math tests.
Georgia's four-year high school graduation rate, at 72%, still slightly lags the national rate of 75%. For Georgia's Hispanic and African-American students, however, the graduation rate is 62% to 64%.
Algebra is a gateway subject for advanced math and science coursework in high school and college. Overall,
63% of Georgia students did not meet the standard on the state's algebra End of Course Tests (EOCT) in spring 2013—but 79% of African-American students scored below the standard, as did 71% for Hispanic students.
Science score gaps are also troubling:
• In spring 2013, 74% of all students met or exceeded standards on the biology EOCT, but just 61% of African-American students and 70% of Hispanic students.
• In physical science, though all students did better, just 72% of African-American students and 80% of Hispanic students, as compared to 83% of students overall, met or exceeded standards.
• In recent years, as few as 12% of teachers produced in Georgia have been secondary-level STEM teachers, but nearly half of the state's teaching vacancies (49% in 2013) are middle- and high-school STEM positions.
• Teacher attrition in Georgia is a concern: Studies show that about 9% of math and science teachers leave Georgia's classrooms every year. Nationally, between 30% and 40% of new teachers leave within their first three years on the job—more in the neediest districts.
• Statewide, 14% to 15% of Georgia's math and science teachers are teaching without full certification in their area.
• The number of Fellows produced by this program will fill most of the anticipated STEM vacancies for one year in the participating districts.