Study 1: NC
– The ISHSs agreeing to participate in the study appeared to be more likely than those that declined to be in program improvement status and to serve a higher proportion of low income students, but because of the large variation across schools, these differences were not statistically significant.
– The most striking difference between the student samples in the two types of school was the larger proportion of African American students in the ISHSs: Half of the ISHS students completing the survey were African American compared to only 25% of students in the comparison school sample.
– A high percentage of students at both ISHS and comparison schools reported having at least one parent working in a STEM-related field, but it should be noted that our survey item gave examples of STEM-related jobs that do not require a 4-year degree (e.g., computer technician) as well as those that do (e.g., civil engineer).
– The 12th graders in our North Carolina ISHS sample reported more academic experiences relevant to becoming ready for STEM at the college level than did their counterparts in comprehensive high schools. The North Carolina high school seniors overall, the African American subgroup, and females were more likely to have taken precalculus or calculus, physics, and chemistry if they attended an ISHS rather than a comprehensive high school.
Study 2: TX
– ISHS students in the Texas Grade 12 Student Survey sample overall reported significantly more STEM coursework and experiences in the form of a higher likelihood of having taken: calculus or
precalculus, more advanced science and mathematics courses, one or more technology courses, and one or more engineering courses. They also reported more extracurricular and informal STEM activities outside of school and were more likely to have taken the ACT or SAT college admissions test and to have taken an AP exam.
– Female students in the sample of Texas ISHSs had the same statistically significant advantages in terms of STEM academic experiences as the total sample, with the exception of likelihood of having taken calculus or precalculus.
– The direction of differences in all of the attitudinal variables favored ISHS students, but there were fewer statistically significant differences in attitudes than were found in the North Carolina sample in Study 1.
– The level of academic aspiration in terms of expectation for postsecondary degree completion tended to be higher among students in the ISHS sample.
– The pattern of significant differences between ISHS and comparison school students in Texas generally was the same for the Hispanic and female subgroups as for the student sample as a whole. In addition, female students in the ISHS sample reported significantly more integration of other STEM subjects into their science classes.