iSTEM: Impacts of Inclusive STEM High Schools on Student Outcomes

SRI Education leads a first-of-its-kind longitudinal study on the schools’ effectiveness in Texas, North Carolina, and Ohio.

SRI researchers identified and recruited 39 inclusive STEM-focused high schools (ISHS) and 3,022 comprehensive (or traditional) high schools serving similar student populations but without a school-wide STEM focus in North Carolina, Texas, and Ohio. An additional comparison school sample of 13 small schools of choice with a focus other than STEM was used to help disentangle the effects of a STEM-focused program from those of small school size and school choice.

The study used a quasi-experimental design to investigate the effects of attending an inclusive STEM high school and compared outcomes for students in these schools with those of their counterparts attending other types of schools in the same states. The study included all students in the 9th or 12th grade in the inclusive STEM high schools and comparable students in samples of same-state comparison schools. Data were collected longitudinally using student records and by surveying students at different points in their academic careers. The study followed the 12th grade students after graduation into postsecondary study or the workforce in Texas.

Impacts on student achievement were analyzed separately for each state. Data on the elements of STEM schools were collected through teacher and administrator surveys and interviews. State STEM school history and policy data were collected through document analysis and interviews.The study found positive impact of ISHS on student high school outcomes across the three states, such as STEM courses completed, science achievement, extracurricular STEM activities, STEM identification and efficacy, and interest in a STEM career. The study also looked at the impact of ISHS on student postsecondary outcomes in Texas and found students who had attended an ISHS were significantly more likely to be in a STEM bachelor’s degree program two years after high school graduation.

Principal Investigator: Barbara Means
Co-Principal Investigators: Sharon Lynch, Robert Murphy, Viki Young, Haiwen Wang 

Related Publications

Broadening Participation in STEM College Majors: Effects of Attending a STEM-Focused High School

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. DRL-1118993. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.