An Exploratory Study: The Role of Social Networks and Self-Efficacy in the Retention of Noyce Teachers

  • NSF Noyce Award #1660597
  • First Name Meltem
  • Last Name Alemdar
    • DisciplineOther:: Research
    • Co-PI(s)

      Christopher Cappelli,Georgia Institute of Technology,
      Jessica Gale,Georgia Institute of Technology,

    • Presenters

      Meltem Alemdar, Georgia Institute of Technology,
      Christopher Cappelli,Georgia Institute of Technology,


This exploratory study proposed by Georgia Institute of Technology, submitted to the National Science Foundations’ Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program, through Track 4 Noyce Research, will explore Noyce Teacher Fellows (early career teachers) retention and persistence in high-needs schools. Specifically, the study will focus on (1) whether and how Noyce teachers’ personal networks and self-efficacy impact teacher retention in high-needs schools; (2) what school or school district-level characteristics might be associated with personal networks, self-efficacy and retention; and (3) whether and how individual Noyce project characteristics impact teachers’ personal networks, self-efficacy, and retention. Numerous studies show that teacher effectiveness and retention are affected by the strength and nature of teachers’ collaborative networks, both inside and outside of their school settings. Studies also show that when teachers have a strong support network, they are more likely to te


The proposed research study uses an exploratory research design to investigate the outlined research questions below. An exploratory research design is appropriate for this study due to the paucity of existing theories that explain the ways in which teachers’ personal networks and teachers’ self-efficacy impact their retention in high-needs schools. Exploratory research is specifically useful in this capacity, as it is used to generate ideas, explore relationships, and find patterns in data rather than to test existing theories.
Goal 1: To explore the relationship among Noyce project characteristics, school culture, teacher personal network, self-efficacy and retention. The following research questions will guide the study:

1. How do teacher personal networks and self-efficacy affect early career teacher retention in high-needs schools?
2. What is the relationship among early career Noyce teachers? self-efficacy, personal network structure, and retention in high-needs schools?
3. To what extent and in what ways are Noyce project characteristics associated with early career teachers’ self-efficacy beliefs, the structure of their personal networks, and retention in high-needs schools?
4. What are the sources of self-efficacy identified by early career Noyce teachers?
5. To what extent do sources of self-efficacy identified by early career Noyce teachers vary depending on project and school characteristics, and teachers’ personal network structure?

Goal 2: To develop a validated Teacher Personal Network survey that can be adapted by Noyce projects to guide their induction programs.

Goal 3: To update the existing Noyce Teacher fellow database that will be publicly available through the study website.


Social Network Analysis (SNA) is the process of investigating social structures through the use of network and graph theories. Social Network Analysis (SNA) is a method used to detect and interpret patterns of social ties among network actors, such as teachers. While traditional social science methodologies assess The project will bring together experts from teacher education, educational research, social network analysis and STEM education – leveraging the expertise of each as well as their discipline-specific approaches – to create an innovative framework to explore the role of social networks and self-efficacy, and their relationship to Noyce project characteristics and teacher retention. This study will focus on Track 1 Noyce Teacher Fellows (early career teachers) and will explore the following: (1) whether and how Noyce teachers’ personal networks and self efficacy impact teacher retention in high-need schools; (2) what school or school district-level characteristics


We will discuss the methodology, the literature review, and our research focus with the participants. We just got funded, so we don’t have results to share, but the key deliverables will be:
1) Literature review related to teacher self-efficacy and retention
2) Social Network Methods, and it is importance in teacher retention related research.

Broader Impacts

The broader impacts of this research will be at the national level. There are more than three hundred Noyce projects funded though the NSF Noyce Program. Identifying factors that influence Noyce teachers’ retention in high-needs schools will enable the Noyce Program to better address these factors in the future. This research will also contribute to STEM education literature on how teacher personal networks, support structures, and self-efficacy relate to teacher retention. In addition to developing a new instrument to explore teacher networks, this research will utilize innovative methodology (social network analysis) to explore the relationships among early career Noyce teacher networks, self-efficacy, and retention. Ultimately, this work will contribute to our understanding of how to support and retain teachers in high-needs schools.

Posted on July 6, 2017