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Title IX and Project Lead the Way: Achieving Equity through All-female Cohorts in Public School Settings

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

Women in Engineering Division Technical Session - Pre-college Programs for Women

Tagged Divisions

Women in Engineering and Pre-College Engineering Education Division

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Paper Authors


Shawna Fletcher Texas A&M University

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SHAWNA L. FLETCHER is Director for the Women in Engineering (WE) Program at Texas A&M University. Her primary responsibilities include outreach, recruitment and retention programs for women students and faculty in the Dwight Look College of Engineering. She has been President of the Arizona Promoters of Applied Science in Education (APASE) since 2006. She holds an M.S degree in Bioengineering and B.S. degrees in Physiological Psychology and Microbiology from Arizona State University. Since 1997, she has been dedicated to engineering recruitment/retention programs and K-12 STEM educational efforts in Arizona, Ohio and Texas.

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Nationally recognized programs, such as Project Lead the Way (PLTW), have provided interventions to increase the number of students exposed to engineering principles at the K-12 level. Although numbers of participants are increasing, in many high schools PLTW is offered as an elective and attracts few female students. In an effort to understand classroom dynamics, many PLTW programs show that interest of underrepresented populations mirrors national metrics for women in engineering. Recently, specialized efforts to recruit and retain women have emerged. Partnerships between universities and K-12 educational systems have been created to provide opportunities to increase student engagement.

All-female PLTW Intro to Engineering Design (IED) courses have been developed in several schools to attract more underrepresented students. Over a few short years, specific all-female cohorts have served to increase the number of women at high rates. Though programs with cohorts continue to show success, questions regarding Title IX compliance or violation emerge with single-gender courses offered within public educational settings. This paper will provide an overview of known all-female cohort efforts in Project Lead the Way, an overview of Title IX, and a discussion of whether these cohorts are compliant with gender equity legislation when offered in a public school setting.

Fletcher, S. (2016, June), Title IX and Project Lead the Way: Achieving Equity through All-female Cohorts in Public School Settings Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.27046

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