Math and science education expert Catherine Riegle-Crumb has received a National Science Foundation grant to take an unprecedented look at gender and racial/ethnic inequalities in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education.
The funding will allow her to study student participation – broken down by gender and ethnic/racial subgroups – in STEM courses from sixth grade through college. Her findings should provide a clearer picture of the education experiences of groups that tend to be poorly represented in STEM classes, college majors, and careers.
Riegle-Crumb’s research will focus not only on students’ actual STEM course involvement and achievement but also on intended attainment. Examining how patterns of academic achievement and social inclusion vary over several years between subgroups may help explain disparities in STEM participation.
The project will draw on five large-scale and longitudinal datasets – three that are nationally representative and two that were collected in Texas and include large samples of Hispanic students. According to Riegle-Crumb this will be the first study of its kind, one that employs big data to investigate the intersection of race/ethnicity, gender, and STEM education.
“It will offer a comprehensive description and analysis of STEM inequality that’s previously been unavailable,” said Riegle-Crumb, an associate professor in the College of Education’s Department of Curriculum and Instruction.