Spencer Foundation funds RUSMP study

The Chicago-based Spencer Foundation is supporting research led by the Rice University School Mathematics Project (RUSMP) that aims to explore the factors affecting high school students’ success in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Adem Ekmekci

Adem Ekmekci

Principal investigator (PI) Adem Ekmekci, director of research and evaluation for RUSMP and clinical assistant professor of mathematics, and co-PI Danya Corkin, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Houston-Downtown, received one of the foundation’s research grants to study how students’ social cognitive factors and their math and science teachers’ qualifications relate to students’ motivation, achievement and career choice in the STEM fields.

Using a nationally representative data set developed by the National Center for Education Statistics (the High School Longitudinal Study 2009), RUSMP hopes to understand how all of these relations compare across different subpopulations of students, such as gender and ethnicity. Ekmekci said such information has the potential to impact policies to increase and broaden student participation in STEM and inform math and science teacher preparation and professional development programs about the types of teacher dispositions, qualifications and practices that positively relate to student STEM outcomes.

The Spencer Foundation is dedicated to the belief that research is necessary to improve education around the world.

About B.J. Almond

B.J. Almond is senior director of news and media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.