Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Pamela Howell Scott

Committee Members

Stephanie Renee Barham, William F. Flora, Heather Louise Moore


Many students who enter a STEM track in college move out of that track before graduation (National Science Foundation, 2018). The purpose of this study was to assess whether there was a difference in STEM-related major persistence for population proportions of students actively involved in the Science Scholars program and those who were STEM-interested but not program participants. This program oriented students to the STEM program, facilitated engagement with peers and faculty, exposed students to research opportunities, and filled in potential learning gaps (Gibson et al., 2019).

The questions guiding the current research included:

Q1. Was there a statistically significant difference in STEM science persistence at College A when comparing Science Scholars students to STEM students who were not Science Scholars Program members?

Q2. Was added support needed to encourage STEM persistence for College A STEM students?

Q3. Is there a STEM persistence advantage to being in Science Scholarsversus being a STEM-interested student outside of the program?

The researcher used disaggregated tally sheets to quantify the proportion of students who persisted in a STEM-related major in low, medium, and high ACT score ranges on the overall ACT Composite, as well as on the Math and Science portions of the ACT in both the STEM Scholars group and the STEM-interested group. The analysis of the program derived from the engagement theory framework that related social and academic involvement as a driver for student persistence. The basis for relationships analysis was the score ranges of each group and persistence in a STEM major after the second and third semesters of college.

The results revealed that the proportion of students persisting in a STEM-related major to the second and third semesters of college was greater for those high achieving ACT test groups when they were members of the STEM Scholars program. Students who scored in the mid and low ranges of ACT test takers were not more likely to persist in the STEM Scholars group than those in the STEM-interested group. The support and engagement themes emerged from the analysis of data. Students who were socially and academically engaged and supported academically were more likely to persist in STEM-related majors.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.