STEM Intern Model Highlighting a Year-Long Internship
Authors: Tracy Irish, Holly Bozeman, Shirley Zongker, Dinah Little, George Newberry, Anne Spence

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Feedback from focus groups and interviews conducted during the 2007-08 school year identifies the year-long internship as a major strength of the STEM MAT Internship program.  The majoirty of STEM interns reported feeling more confident and prepared than their peers from traditional, shorter teacher preparation programs. Executive Committee members, university liaisons, and site-based liaisons believed interns were good candidates to become high-quality teachers.  Lead teachers indicated that they wished they had been able to participate in such a teacher pre-service program. Conversely, some interns and lead teachers reported a need for candidates to have more in-depth content background and more experiences with child development.

In their exit conferences, interns indicated that one benefit of the year-long school internship is that it provided the opportunity to be part of all related experiences of a whole school year. Most interns agreed that they had intense first-hand experiences that included the opening and closing of a school year, long-term opportunities to observe student development, and many opportunities to learn and adapt.  Their suggestions on improving the program included providing more than one classroom experience, providing more opportunities to learn about classroom management, and making tighter curriculum connections.

In addition, insight on the influence of the program model is provided through a comparative analysis of the entry scores from the Praxis I and Praxis II content exams and exit scores on Praxis II pedagogy exam. Findings from both entry and exit scores reveal that by and large, the students in the STEM Internship model perform as well or better than traditional MAT students. Starting with the entry exams, on average there were no statistically significant differences between the pre-professional skills acquired STEM MAT and traditional interns. 
Furthermore, overall findings from Praxis II pedagogy scores reveal that the STEM interns, on average, performed significantly better than traditional students.  As seen in Table 3, further disaggregation of data exposed an influence of certification track (i.e., elementary or secondary) and cohort.  These STEM interns in the elementary certification track tended to perform significantly better than their traditional student equivalents.  Likewise, interns in cohort 1 earned significantly higher scores than the cohort 1 traditional students. 

Table 3. Praxis II pedagogy scores by program

Intern Categories



All interns



Certification Areas





















*There is a significant difference between programs at the .05 level.