ECR Projects

Explore past and current fundamental STEM education research projects across the three research areas that NSF's EDU Core Research (ECR) program funds, as well as across ECR funding types. Other search filters draw from both NSF's data and the ECR Hub's hand coding of award abstracts.

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STEM Workforce Development STEM Workforce Development  Broadening Participation in STEM Broadening Participation in STEM

Career Technical Education: Investigating Factors Associated with Enrollment and Persistence in Information and Computing Technologies Among Underrepresented Groups

Effective Years: 2016-2020

Researchers at ETR Associates will conduct a mixed methods longitudinal study on the malleable factors that affect community college students? persistence in information and communications technologies (ICT) classes and careers. The project involves a partnership between a research organization, about 25 community colleges, and five external advisors with expertise in higher education research, policy, and teaching. It will test and extend theories of student persistence and build on the team?s prior research on community college pathways to four-year computer science majors. The study will produce evidence on factors that influence retention, degree attainment, and technical skills development for community college students in ICT fields and inform future research about appropriate theory and measurement tools for use in studies about community college to ICT career pathways. Research results will inform investments in broadening participation programs, institutional and classroom policies and procedures, and intervention programs designed to increase persistence in ICT programs.

The research team will test a portion of an expanded and adapted theory of student persistence to investigate how different factors influence community college students? outcomes. The project will investigate three research questions: (1) What baseline factors (individual, relational, and institutional) are most related to the intentions of community college students to complete their ICT courses? (2) What baseline and interim factors are most related to completion of the ICT course? And (3) What baseline, interim, and current factors are most related to other indicators of success that include program completion, technical skill development, and enhanced workforce capacity? Data analyses will proceed from descriptive and bivariate analyses to multilevel linear and logistic regression analyses. These will be guided by theory as well as prior research on the role of individual, relational, and institutional factors in career pathways. The study will yield evidence about what leads to retention, degree attainment, and technical skills development for underrepresented community college students in information and communications technologies.

This project is supported by NSF's EHR Core Research (ECR) program. The ECR program emphasizes fundamental STEM education research that generates foundational knowledge in three thematic areas: STEM learning and learning environments, broadening participation, and STEM workforce development.