– Surprisingly, a negative association between students’ STEM course participation and success in STEM is consistently documented across both states, in addition to low participation of underrepresented minority students in successful schools in STEM.
– A plausible explanation could be a quantity-quality tradeoff when schools offer STEM courses- the participation measures presented here are quantity measures and schools may compensate for low-quality courses with a higher quantity of them.
– Socioeconomic variables such as the percentage of minority students, and the percentage of students eligible for lunch assistance showed a generally consistent relationship with success in STEM in both states.
– Variables capturing turnover among the student body and turnover among STEM teachers also showed a consistent relationship across states in which success was associated with stability in either variable.
– Indices on mathematics and science instruction also showed a strong association with success in both mathematics and science outcomes. Additionally, some of the STEM variables included in the analysis showed no clear relationship across states or tests; such was the case with the variable on specialized STEM schools, the percentage of STEM teachers who are certified, and departmentalization at the elementary level.
– A troubling association revealed in this analysis is the low level of participation in STEM courses among URM students in successful schools, in addition to the lower levels of URM students in these schools to begin with. This negative association is at odds with policy interests that seek to both encourage STEM achievement overall and expand STEM participation for URM students.