Research experience programs engage teachers in the hands-on practice of science. Program advocates assert that program participation enhances teachers' skills in communicating science to students. We measured the impact of New York City public high-school science teachers' participation in Columbia University's Summer Research Program on their students' academic performance in science. In the year before program entry, students of participating and nonparticipating teachers passed a New York State Regents science examination at the same rate. In years three and four after program entry, participating teachers' students passed Regents science exams at a rate that was 10.1% higher (P = 0.049) than that of nonparticipating teachers' students. Other program benefits include decreased teacher attrition from classroom teaching and school cost savings of U.S. $1.14 per $1 invested in the program.
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