Exploring Specialized STEM High Schools: Three Dissertation Studies Examining Commonalities and Differences Across Six Case Studies
Tofel-Grehl, Colby, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Callahan, Carolyn, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
This dissertation is comprised of three independently conducted analyses of a larger investigation into the practices and features of specialized STEM high schools. While educators and policy makers advocate the development of many new specialized STEM high schools, little is known about the unique features and practices of these schools. The results of these manuscripts add to the literature exploring the promise of specialized STEM schools. Manuscript 1 1 is a qualitative investigation of the common features of STEM schools across multiple school model types. Schools were found to possess common cultural and academic features regardless of model type. Manuscript 2 2 builds on the findings of manuscript 1. With no meaningful differences found attributable to model type, the researchers used grounded theory to explore the relationships between observed differences among programs as related to the intensity of the STEM experience offered at schools. Schools were found to fall into two categories, high STEM intensity (HSI) and low STEM intensity (LSI), based on five major traits. Manuscript 3 3 examines the commonalities and differences in classroom discourse and teachers' questioning techniques in STEM schools. It explicates these discursive practices in order to explore instructional practices across schools. It also examines factors that may influence classroom discourse such as discipline, level of teacher education, and course status as required or elective.
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PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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