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Long-Term Outcomes of RET Programs on Female and Minority Student High School Graduation Rates and Undergraduate STEM Major Rates (Fundamental)

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Conference

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Pre-College Engineering Education Division Technical Session 5

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

12

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/37463

Download Count

38

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Paper Authors

biography

Carolyn Nichol Rice University

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Dr. Carolyn Nichol is an Assistant Research Professor in Chemistry and the Director of the Rice Office of STEM Engagement (R-STEM). R-STEM provides teacher professional development to elementary and secondary teachers in science and math content and pedagogy, while also providing STEM outreach to the Houston Community. Dr. Nichol’s research interests are in science education and science policy. She received her B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, her doctorate in chemical engineering from the University of Texas (UT) at Austin, and served as a postdoctoral fellow in the College of Pharmacy at UT Austin. Prior to joining Rice University, she worked at Boehringer Ingelheim on innovative drug delivery systems and she was an Assistant Professor in Diagnostic Radiology at UT MD Anderson Cancer Center, where she conducted research on nonviral gene therapy systems. At Rice University she has developed and taught courses in The Department of Bioengineering including Numerical Methods, Pharmaceutical Engineering, Systems Physiology, Biomaterials and Advances in BioNanotechnology.

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Christina Anlynette Crawford Rice University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-3099-3528

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As Associate Director for Science and Engineering of the Rice Office of STEM Engagement, Christina leads the K-12 Biology & Engineering professional development programming. She guides Houston area secondary science teachers in “best practices” in educational pedagogy in this capacity.

She currently has a B.S. in Biology from Texas A and M - Corpus Christi, an M.S.Ed from the University of Houston, and a Ph.D. student at the University of Houston studying Urban Education.

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Christopher Barr Rice University

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Rice University Office of Assessment and Evaluation of STEM Programs led by Dr. Barr is the Director of Assessment and Evaluation of STEM Programs at Rice University. He has been an evaluator and psychometric expert on several federally funded projects in education, natural science, and engineering. His focus is to conduct rigorous quantitative and qualitative measurement and program evaluation utilizing validated assessment tools with published psychometric properties, qualitative rubrics with reliable scoring procedures, and developing and validating assessments in-line with the recommendations of the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing.

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Isaias Cerda Rice University

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As the Associate Director for Science Education and English Language Learners for the Rice Office of STEM Engagement (R-STEM) and a former participant in our professional development programs, Isaias provides science content support for all R-STEM programs. In his role, he specializes in providing science content professional development, teacher mentoring, strategies for teaching English Language Learners, and using inquiry pedagogy. Isaias oversees the Houston ISD STEMFab program for high school students during the summer and the Nanotechnology Research Experience for Teachers (RET) program.

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Abstract

Research Experience for Teachers (RET) programs are National Science Foundation (NSF) funded programs designed to provide K- 12 Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) teachers with immersive, hands-on research experiences at Universities around the country. The NSF RET in nanotechnology encourages teachers to translate cutting-edge research into culturally relevant Project-Based Learning (PjBL) and engineering curriculum. Traditionally, the evaluation of RET programs focuses on the growth and development of teacher self-efficacy, engineering content knowledge gains, or classroom implementation of developed curriculum materials. However, reported methods for evaluating the impact of RETs on their female, minority student populations' high school graduation and undergraduate STEM major rates are limited. This study's objective was to compare RET high school student graduation rates and undergraduate STEM major rates across gender, race, and ethnicity to a comparison sample to determine the RET program's long-term impact on students' likelihood of pursuing STEM careers. The approach of collecting and analyzing the Texas Education Research Center Database (EdRC) data is a novel methodology for assessing RET programs' effectiveness on students. The EdRC is a repository of K-12 student data from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and Higher Education data from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB). This joint database contains demographic, course registration, graduation, standardized testing, and college major, among others, for all students that attended a K-12 public school in Texas and any college in Texas, public or private. The RET program participants at Rice University (2010 – 2018) taught numerous students, a sample size of 11,240 students. A propensity score matching generated the student comparison group within the database. Students' school campus, gender, race/ethnic status, and English proficiency status were applied to produce a graduation comparison sample size of 11,240 students of Non-RET participants. Linking the TEA database to the THECB database resulted in college STEM participants and comparison sample sizes of 4,029 students. The project team conducted a logistic regression using RET status to predict high school graduation rates as a whole and by individual variables: gender, Asian American, Black, Caucasian, and Latinx students. All models were significant at p less than 0.05, with models in favor of students RET teachers. The project team conducted a logistic regression using RET status to predict student STEM undergraduate major rates as a whole and by individual variables: Gender, Asian American, Black, Caucasian, and Latinx students. African American and Caucasian models were significant at p less than 0.05; Gender, Asian American, and Latinx models were marginally significant (0.05 less than p greater than 0.1), where RET students had higher STEM major rates than matched controls. The findings demonstrate that RET programs have a long-term positive impact on the students' high school graduation rates and undergraduate STEM major rates. As teachers who participate in the RET programs are more likely to conduct courses using PjBL strategies and incorporate real-world engineering practices, female and minority students are more likely to benefit from these practices and seek careers utilizing these skills.

Nichol, C., & Crawford, C. A., & Barr, C., & Cerda, I. (2021, July), Long-Term Outcomes of RET Programs on Female and Minority Student High School Graduation Rates and Undergraduate STEM Major Rates (Fundamental) Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37463

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