Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Examining the Role of Inclusive STEM Schools in the College and Career Readiness of Students in the United States: A Multi-Group Analysis on the Outcome of Student Achievement

Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Examining the Role of Inclusive STEM Schools in the College and Career Readiness of Students in the United States: A Multi-Group Analysis on the Outcome of Student Achievement

Article excerpt

Occupations in the 21st century increasingly require science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) knowledge (National Research Council [NRC], 2011). This demand is projected to continue during the next decade. However, the education system in the U.S. has not prepared enough students to fill those occupations requiring STEM knowledge (National Science Foundation [NSF], 2012; U.S. Department of Commerce, 2011). Until recently, U.S. businesses have managed to fill these occupations by importing students from other countries. However, this strategy has become outdated because of increased opportunities for similar occupations in other countries (Atkinson, Hugo, Lundgren, Shapiro, & Thomas, 2007). As a result, the shortage of workers with STEM knowledge has caused stress for U.S. businesses.

Policymakers in the U.S., realizing the importance of the situation, have developed new strategies for increasing the number of students to fill occupations requiring STEM knowledge (NRC, 2011). The first of these strategies includes: (a) improving the degree of training for STEM related careers, (b) increasing the number of people for the workforce, and (c) generating a more scientifically literate population (NRC, 2011). With these and other strategies, specific recommendations for increasing students include: (a) the creation of state-level mathematics and science standards, (b) recruitment and training of 100,000 STEM teachers over the next decade, (c) recognition for STEM teachers, (.d) expansion of educational technology, (e) creation of extra-curricular opportunities for students, (f) creation of 1,000 new STEM-focused schools, and (g) provision of strong and strategic leadership (Presidents Council of Advisors on Science and Technology [PCAST], 2010). The PCAST authors identified specialized STEM schools as the most prominent recommendation.

In the last decade, most stakeholders (i.e., education leaders, policymakers, and researchers) have agreed that specialized STEM schools provide an optimum way for addressing the issue of reform for STEM education within the U.S. education system (Erdogan & Stuessy, 2015). In describing these schools, the NRC adopted a typology for identifying specialized schools. The NRC (2011) categorized specialized STEM schools under three headings: (a) selective STEM schools, (b) inclusive STEM schools, and (c) schools with STEM-focused career and technical education (CTE). Selective STEM schools serve students with aptitude and interest in STEM knowledge. These schools have certain admission criteria (e.g., past academic achievement; NRC, 2011; Subotnik, Tai, & Almarode, 2011). Inclusive STEM schools serve similar students; however, these schools have no admission criteria (NRC, 2011; Young et al., 2011). Schools with STEM-focused CTE serve students that are at risk for dropping out of school and accept students based on no criteria (NRC, 2011; Stone III, 2011).

Based on the above discussion, two problems arise to guide this study. The first problem is the blurred success of these schools at preparing students for college and career in STEM fields. Although a large amount of money has been invested in these schools, the success of these schools in preparing students is an unanswered question. The second problem involves better understanding of how student demographics correspond with student success on different achievement measures. These two problems suggest stakeholders have more to learn about the success of specialized STEM schools and the influence of student demographics over student performance on achievement measures.

The purpose of this study is to measure the college readiness of inclusive STEM high school (ISHS) graduates in comparison to traditional high school graduates. Schools classified as ISHS were chosen to represent a new school typology having the potential to direct females, minorities, and students with disabilities into STEM related careers. …

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