Developing Informed Portraits of the Educational Experiences of Homeless, Black High-Achieving Adolescents
Effective Years: 2022-2027
Existing educational inequities produce complex challenges for Black students, particularly in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) classrooms. Black students who show promise for success in STEM while experiencing homelessness find themselves particularly marginalized at the intersection of race and class. The purpose of this project is to center the voices and experiences of Black, high achieving homeless adolescents to better understand the resources and strengths they possess, as well as those they draw on from schools and communities of support to enhance their positive development and achievement of educational and occupational aspirations. This deep exploration into the educational experiences of these students, with emphases on STEM coursework and pathways, will offer pointed guidance in how to better engage those students and ensure their successful persistence through high school and beyond. The project will also support graduate and undergraduate students in STEM education research as well as sharing findings with partner school districts as part of the educational integration plan. This research project is supported by the EHR Core Research (ECR) program, which supports work that advances fundamental research on STEM learning and learning environments, broadening participation in STEM, and STEM workforce development. This project is also supported by the Racial Equity in STEM Education program (EHR Racial Equity), which supports projects that advance racial equity in STEM education and workforce development through research and practice.
This qualitative, life course-focused study examines the educational experiences of Black, high-achieving homeless Black students. Life-coursed focused research employs semi-structured interviews that focus on how students make sense of pivotal life experiences within societal and personal contexts; in this case, the project highlights students’ experiences with STEM learning at the intersections of race, ability, and homelessness with 100 Black students via semi-structured interviews. The project is guided by overarching aims: 1) to create “informed portraits” that document the specific and unique educational experiences of Black, high achieving homeless high school students; 2) to evaluate how well current policies intended to define homelessness and provide support to all students experiencing homelessness address or meet the particular needs of these students; 3) to develop evidence-informed policy and practice recommendations for educational stakeholders in order to increase STEM achievement outcomes and to reduce STEM-specific inequities for Black high-achieving homeless adolescents. The results of this research will assist educators, practitioners, policymakers, and scholars in understanding the personal, social, and community-based assets of housing insecure students alongside the unique challenges they face in pursuing their educational aspirations.
This award is funded in whole or in part under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (Public Law 117-2).
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.