Four projects investigating the characteristics and effectiveness of STEM-focused high schools present their contrasting methods and early findings.
This session focuses on methods and results from four current NSF-funded studies (three of which are funded under DR K–12). Two studies are attempting to capture the essential features of inclusive STEM-focused high schools and are developing data-based conceptual frameworks. One of these is conducting rich case studies of eight high-functioning, inclusive STEM high schools (ISHSs), drawn from seven different states, to build a common model for designing such schools. A second, multi-method study identifies structural and behavioral components that characterize a nationwide sample of 20 ISHSs and measures the implementation of these components and subsequent relationships to student outcomes. The remaining two studies are examining the impacts of STEM-focused schools. One is a large-scale longitudinal quasi-experimental study comparing ISHSs and comparison schools in the states of North Carolina, Texas, and Ohio. The other project is examining the effects of attending highly selective STEM high schools, using a sample from across the U.S.
Project presentations describe each project’s goals and research questions, key aspects of the school contexts in which the research is being conducted, and findings with respect to essential features and impacts of STEM-focused high schools. In addition to responding to audience questions, panelists discuss implications for school policy and leadership.