In the 12 years since its inception, PhysTEC has had numerous successes. This page highlights ways the project is improving physics teacher education around the country.
Teacher Graduation Rates at Legacy Sites Have Increased Sustainably
Nearly every PhysTEC site that has focused on recruiting high school physics teachers (several early sites focused on elementary and middle school teacher education instead) has seen substantial increases in teacher graduation numbers. Additionally, all legacy sites have sustained graduation rates at an elevated level compared to pre-funding years.
PhysTEC sites now graduate nearly 50 teachers a year, which means the project accounts for around 10% of all new physics teachers who have a physics degree in the U.S. If a significant fraction of the nearly 800 institutions that grant a physics bachelor's degree make similar increases to those made at PhysTEC institutions, this will greatly increase the number of qualified physics teachers in the nation's classrooms.
Future Teachers Increase at Currently Supported Sites
Newly funded sites have not yet begun graduating teachers who were impacted by the program, but nearly all have shown substantial increases in future teachers. Future teachers are students who have committed to completing a program of physics teacher education.
The project will continue to monitor graduation rates over time to look at the long-term sustainability of PhysTEC sites, and is currently engaged in a formal sustainability study to document this critical aspect of the project.
Most PhysTEC Graduates Go on to Teach Physics
Preliminary survey results show that nearly 90% of PhysTEC graduates go on to teach in a K-12 school, and of those graduates for whom the project has current employment information, over two thirds are still teaching. Moreover, of those who are teaching, over 80% are teaching at least one physics class. PhysTEC Supported Sites develop induction and mentoring activities to support new teachers and keep them thriving in the classroom.
More Physics Departments are Engaging in Teacher Preparation
Nearly 300 universities have joined the Physics Teacher Education Coalition. This makes up nearly 40% of the physics degree-granting institutions in the U.S. Each Coalition member submits an application form, endorses a statement on the importance of physics department involvement in teacher education, and agrees to submit yearly teacher graduation data.
Coalition members include universities from 48 states and the District of Columbia, as well as several other countries.