Supported Site University of Colorado at Boulder: Program Data

The project collects data on the number of PhysTEC Graduates, PhysTEC Future Teachers, PhysTEC Learning Assistants, and PhysTEC Mentors; these PhysTEC terms are defined here. The project also collects data on physics pedagogy courses, early teaching experiences, and enrollment in K-8 physical science courses for future elementary school teachers.

PhysTEC Graduates (Years funded 2004-2008)
BaselineProject Funded
Year -2 Year -1 Year 0 Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5 Year 6 Year 7
0 1 2 0 1 5 2 4 3 1
Year 8 Year 9 Year 10
2 6 2

Commentary on Graduates data:

  • The pre-high school graduates listed are teachers who as students took the Physics for Elementary Teachers course.
  • High school graduates listed are physics/astrophysics majors, who have participated in any significant fraction of the PhysTEC efforts (LA program, Teaching and Learning Physics) and are subsequently advised and mentored by PhysTEC PIs and TIR. These individuals have part or full time teaching positions in Colorado K12 schools. There is at least one additional student who has come through our program who is teaching in NYC (not counted above).
  • We are in regular contact with our PhysTEC Graduates; we visit their classes approximately 3 times per semester to observe and interview the teacher. We send out surveys to our teachers at least once per year.
  • The one graduate in Year 1 is no longer teaching in Colorado. The four in year 3 received certification at the end of year 2 or will receive it in year 3. Within the next two years we expect to certify 6 physics/astrophysics majors. We believe that this number has increased due to increased attention to recruitment and retention through the PhysTEC and program.

PhysTEC Future Teachers

  Baseline Project
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
PhysTEC Future Teachers (secondary)



3 2 2 6
PhysTEC Future Teachers (elementary)



  0 0 3

Commentary on future teachers data:

  • PhysTEC Future Teachers listed are those that are in certification programs, participate in program components such as LAs or members of Teaching and Learning Physics. These students are majoring in physics/astrophysics.
  • PhysTEC Future Teachers elementary are pre-service elementary teachers who took the PET class. The limited enrollment comes about because we have not yet cross-listed the course. Administrative difficulties about who owns the course (and pays for it, gets institutional credit) is a current hurdle that we are addressing. Currently it is a 2-week summer course that costs students ~$1,000. This is too much for professional development course for most teachers and it is not required for certification.
  • The 2 PhysTEC future teachers in years 1 and 2 are different in each year and are now PhysTEC teachers. The total 4 PhysTEC teachers are the 2 future teachers from year 1 plus the 2 from year 2. The 6 future teachers in year 3 does not include counts from previous years.
  • We expect this increase to continue. We believe that it is due to increased interests among faculty members in the physics and astronomy departments partially due to the PhysTEC program.

Mentored Teachers

  Year 1
2004 - 2005
Year 2
2005 - 2006
Year 3
2006 - 2007
PhysTEC Mentors (Current and Prior TIRs) 1 2 3
PhysTEC Mentees      
Mentored PhysTEC Future Teachers 2 2 6
Mentored PhysTEC Teachers 1 1 4
Mentored Non-PhysTEC Teachers 0 0 0

Commentary on mentors and mentees data:

  • Our PhysTEC future teachers are mentored by our TIR and faculty members when they are LAs or taking classes as part of the PhysTEC program. There may be other physics majors who became teachers but they would not be considered PhysTEC teachers. The only numbers reported in this table are PhysTEC teachers.
  • Our TIRs’ duties have not included mentoring PhysTEC teachers. The project delivered mentoring during the monthly meetings of Noyce Fellows, Future Teachers, and local Teachers
  • RTOP and interviews were used to provide some mentoring of PhysTEC teachers by Valerie Otero, one of the PhysTEC Co-PIs provided the mentoring.

Note: We have delineated Year 0 a Pre-Project rather than baseline year because many activities (e.g. the LA program) preceded funding from PhysTEC.

PhysTEC Enrollment

Course Type Baseline Pre- Project Project
Year 1 Year 2 Year 0
2003 - 2004
Year 1
2004 - 2005
Year 2
2005 - 2006
Year 3
2006 - 2007
Calc - based Phys 1 0 0 1180 0 reform 534 1150
Calc - based Phys 2 0 0 0 810 820 750
Upper div PER course on Teaching and Learning     N/A 23 4 12
PhysTEC courses for non - majors: Physics of Everyday Life, Sounds Music, and Phys 3 for engineers) 0 0 0 330 808 700
LA Math/Science Pedagogy Course 0 0 52 36 46 74
Conceptual, Inquiry - Based course for Elementary Ed. Students (PET and PSET) 0 0 6 6 7 9

Commentary on enrollment data:

  • While students were enrolled in Calculus-based Introductory Physics prior to PhysTEC, we were not yet implementing the Tutorials, which are considered a PhysTEC sponsored reform.
  • In project year 0 we began implementing Tutorials in the first semester of the Calculus-based Introductory Physics. In project year 1 the PhysTEC/CU-LA program was centered on the second semester of the Calculus-based Introductory Physics course. In project year 2 we expanded to include both semesters.
  • Other physics courses are courses that benefited directly from PhysTEC sponsored activities, typically the use of Learning Assistants. These include: Phys of Everyday Life, Physics of Sound and Music, Algebra- based Intro Phys, and Quantum Mechanics.
  • Enrollment in the LA pedagogy course each year is the sum of the two semesters’ enrollment. Only first-semester LAs take this course so there is no possibility of double counting.
  • We are still having problems getting adequate enrollments in Physics and Everyday Thinking (a course for future elementary teachers). We believe that this is because we are offering it in the summer and it is too expensive for in-service teachers and not required for pre-service teachers, and also because it is not currently listed as a course that meets the Natural Sciences core requirement.