Expanding Opportunities for Innovative and Technology Rich STEM Experiences through Florida's High School Career Academies
This research project would investigate the determinants and consequences of student enrollment in a new Florida program of high school "career academies" intended to integrate rigorous academic curriculum with industry-driven careers. The researchers have created some specific hypotheses about curriculum and school organization and their relationship to choosing STEM careers that can be tested with the study they have designed. The study will use statistical analysis models of existing administrative statistics from the State of Florida to test the influence of attending special "academies" at the high school level to encourage students into STEM fields. They will test the idea that students attending a special academy had already chosen a particular career before attending the school. Students attending special schools are likely to have selected the school because of their background. This study will measure the extent to which Florida students chose their career fields based on the school they would attend or the extent that the school changed their career choice. Through qualitative analysis they will identify new factors of the schools that affect choices of students to attend them. The trends study will indicate whether attending these special schools increase STEM course taking among underrepresented students. The researchers will analyze existing data using a multilevel model to account for both teacher and student variances, will conduct surveys of students in some schools, and will conduct qualitative analysis of course taking.