STEM Academy: A Case Study of Girls' STEM Self-Efficacy
Women are underrepresented in STEM fields and careers. This population is not being encouraged, supported, or exposed to STEM learning as often as their male counterparts. The purpose of this sequential mixed- methods study was to examine the influence of participating in a STEM Academy on girls’ mathematics, science, engineering and technology, and STEM self-efficacy. This study included a quantitative and qualitative component. Sixth grade girls intending to participate in the STEM Academy were individually matched with sixth grade girls not intending to participate in the STEM Academy. There were two participant sample groups for the quantitative component, girls in the STEM Academy and girls not in the STEM Academy. Both participant sample groups were given the Student Attitudes toward STEM (S-STEM)- Middle and High School survey using the Likert 5-point scale. Only girls in the STEM Academy participated in a focus group. The 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. Results of the quantitative data indicated that the STEM Academy program did influence girls’ mathematics and science self-efficacy, but not their engineering and technology and STEM self-efficacy. Results of the qualitative data indicated that girls’ perceptions were affected by their participation in the STEM Academy program.