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Mathematics Achievement in the Secondary High School Context of STEM and non-STEM Schools
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The primary purpose of the research conducted during this dissertation study is to explore how students who attended ISHSs performed on the mathematics high-stakes state test compared to their corresponding peers who attended traditional public high schools in Texas. All three studies included in this dissertation used quantitative data (i.e., state standardized test scores) to investigate whether students’ mathematics performance differs by high school types: STEM and non-STEM. The research for the first article employed one year of state-based data and focused on the comparison of STEM and non-STEM high schools in terms of students’ mathematics achievement. The second article employed a longitudinal assessment of students’ mathematics achievement to observe how students’ initial mathematics scores and their growth rate differ by their high school type as STEM and non-STEM. Research conducted for the third article also used longitudinal state-based data to examine how Hispanic students’ mathematics achievement in ISHSs compares to their Hispanic counterparts in traditional public schools. Results from the first study revealed that Hispanic students who participate in TSTEM academies statistically significantly (p < .05) performed better in mathematics at the end of grade 11 than did Hispanic students who participated in traditional public high schools when controlling for gender and SES. The second study revealed female students’ mathematics growth rate in T-STEM academies was statistically significantly higher than female students’ mathematics growth rate in traditional public high schools controlling for ethnicity and SES. The third study’s findings indicated that female Hispanic students in T-STEM academies statistically significantly (p < .05) outperformed female Hispanic students in comparison schools on their mathematics growth rate. Overall, results from this dissertation study yielded that T-STEM academies are most helpful for Hispanic students, and especially for female Hispanic students, in Texas. The findings of this dissertation are important because increasing the number of underrepresented students who major in STEM, which is needed to maintain the United States’ scientific leadership and economic power in the global world, can be possible by establishing more inclusive STEM schools in high Hispanic populace locations.
Bicer, Ali (2016). Mathematics Achievement in the Secondary High School Context of STEM and non-STEM Schools. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from