The Impact of Participating in a STEM Academy on Girls' STEM Attitudes and Self-Efficacy

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Betty Thomas George
Sandy White Watson
Michelle Lynn Peters


The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of participating in a STEM Academy (STEMA) on girls’ mathematics, science, engineering, and technology self-efficacy and STEM attitudes.  Twenty-eight sixth grade girls participating in a STEMA were individually matched with sixth grade girls not participating in a STEMA.  Both participant groups were administered the Student Attitudes toward STEM (S-STEM)-Middle and High School survey and the STEMA group also participated in focus group interviews.  Quantitative data was analyzed using an independent samples t-test, while the qualitative was analyzed using a blend of priori and inductive thematic coding process.  The results indicated that the STEMA program did positively influence girls’ mathematics and science self-efficacy, but not their engineering, technology, or STEM self-efficacy and that girls’ self-efficacy perceptions were positively influenced by their participation and teachers in the STEMA program .             

            Keywords:  engineering self-efficacy, mathematics self-efficacy, science self-efficacy, STEM self-efficacy, STEM Academy, STEM careers, technology self-efficacy.

Article Details

Research / Empirical
Author Biographies

Betty Thomas George, Alief Independent School District

Betty George is the District K-6 Science Interventionist for Alief Independent School District in Houston, Texas. She has been an educator since 2001 and her research interests include supporting minorities in STEM and building teacher capacity in science, literacy, and STEM. She received her Doctorate Degree in Curriculum and Instruction with a STEM focus from the University of Houston – Clear Lake.

Sandy White Watson, University of Louisiana at Monroe

Sandy White Watson is an Associate Professor of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Louisiana at Monroe. Her research interests include diversity in STEM education, science misconceptions, and effective teaching.

Michelle Lynn Peters, University of Houston-Clear Lake

Michelle Peters is a professor of research and applied statistics and the Department Chair of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis for the College of Education at the University of Houston – Clear Lake. Her research tends to focus on K-16 STEM formal and informal education, but she also collaborates on studies dealing with educational leadership, teacher education, counseling, and student success.