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K-5 Research Experience for Teachers (RET)

CDCM’s Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) program engages elementary school teachers in materials research at UT Austin during the summer and has created lasting impact over the past six years. The program aims to increase teacher efficacy in research practices and guide teachers in integrating what they learn into their instructional practice. The end goals are to enhance students’ engagement in science and increase students’ awareness of and interest in STEM fields.  

Fifty (50) teachers have been recruited from Title 1 and Dual language schools in Austin to participate in the RET program between 2018-2023. Those teachers have impacted more than 1400 students through the implementation of their RET lessons.

CDCM employs an external evaluator to not only assess the impact of the RET program on teachers and their students during the year teachers participate in the RET, but also longitudinally tracks program impact over time. Teacher confidence in integrating science or engineering concepts into their curriculum, facilitating lab-like activities or experiments effectively and educating students about careers in STEM was assessed in the longitudinal surveys. Teacher’s confidence increased in each of these areas over time but the most significant increase was measured the spring after they had participated in the RET program.