Effects of STEM/ICT Aspirants' High School Experiences on STEM and ICT Course-Taking
The proposed project is a three-year, longitudinal, multiple-method study that addresses questions about high school students' course-taking in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) or information & communication technologies (ICT). In particular, it focuses on the effects of STEM/ICT academies--secondary schools that specialize in these subjects. The project will contribute greatly to our understanding of factors that may support or hinder students' interest and persistence in STEM/ICT courses. The project is also timely, in that there is growing interest in understanding the impacts of STEM/ICT academies and similar ways of structuring schools to emphasize STEM content topics--either as career-focused schools or as themed schools. This project will have a very robust research base for its conclusions, drawing on both complete state-wide databases as well as rich case studies of schools. The quantitative analysis portion will examine data drawn from the Florida Department of Education, which provides data on students' courses, demographics, and performance--matched with data from the NCES High School Study, which provides data on schools' and districts' courses and curriculum. Qualitative data will be collected from purposefully selected school cases and analyzed to provide more depth and richness in understanding the findings from the quantitative study.