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.

Ninth-grade biology students create cell models using clay.

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STEM Learning and Learning Environments STEM Learning and Learning Environments  Broadening Participation in STEM Broadening Participation in STEM

Opportunity Matters: Investigating the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the STEM Career Pipeline

Effective Years: 2023-2026

The COVID-19 pandemic fundamentally changed the educational landscape of the United States, overwhelming schools and leaving high school students with fewer opportunities to learn math and science content. This was particularly true for students from historically marginalized groups including students living in poverty, students of color, students with disabilities, and students whose primary language is not English. Reduced opportunities to learn math and science content has profound implications for the pipeline from high school, through college, to STEM careers, narrowing it to only students with the necessary resources to ensure continued access to learning opportunities. Building on prior research, this study is designed to explore disruptions in math and science high school course taking during the COVID-19 Pandemic, focusing on high school students from historically marginalized groups in the United States.

The project draws upon Opportunity to Learn theory and a multidimensional conceptualization of cultural capital which incorporating Bourdieu's concept of hysteresis and Yosso's theory of Community Cultural Wealth. The project is designed to advance foundational knowledge about students’ access to and engagement with science and math courses at different time points before, during, and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Researchers from the National Opinion Research Center will partner with Infinite Campus, a leading supplier of student information and learning management systems, providing researchers with access to data on over 1.8 million high school students across the United States. The large-scale data set will enable analyses of populations often excluded from research because of their small populations, as well as intersectional groups with multiple social identities. The project team will use weighting techniques designed to warrant claims about public high schools with enrollments larger than 50 students. Data will be analyzed using concept grounding, latent class analysis, and intersectional techniques. Findings from this study have the potential to be critical for schools and districts as they work to more equitably address disparities in student outcomes in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This project is supported by NSF's EDU Core Research (ECR) program. The ECR program emphasizes fundamental STEM education research that generates foundational knowledge in the field. Investments are made in critical areas that are essential, broad and enduring: STEM learning and STEM learning environments, broadening participation in STEM, and STEM workforce development.

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.