Research in Science Education

, Volume 44, Issue 3, pp 483-506

First online:

The Examination of a Pullout STEM Program for Urban Upper Elementary Students

  • Daniel L. DickersonAffiliated withSTEM Education and Professional Studies, Old Dominion University Email author 
  • , Angela EckhoffAffiliated withOld Dominion University
  • , Craig O. StewartAffiliated withUniversity of Memphis
  • , Shanan ChappellAffiliated withOld Dominion University
  • , Stephanie HathcockAffiliated withOld Dominion University

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


The purpose of this study is to determine whether a pullout STEM program (STARBASE) makes reading and math scores decrease and examine its impact on urban fourth, fifth, and sixth grade students’ attitudes and perceptions regarding STEM education and careers. We employed a mixed-methods, case study approach that involved two published and one indigenous instrument composed of Likert scales, semantic differential scales, and open-ended items, along with structured interviews. Results indicate that it is possible for reading, math, and social studies scores to be unaffected when implementing a STEM pullout program, as adjusted trends (for ethnicity and socioeconomic status) are not statistically different from those of non-STARBASE school divisions in the area. Additionally, the Black/White achievement gap, as measured by standardized test scores, was substantially closed over the last decade within STARBASE schools. Quantitative measures revealed few differences in student attitudes from pre- to posttest. Student qualitative responses were overwhelmingly positive. Students wanted more STARBASE time in the regular school year. Students, particularly Black students, also wanted an increase in career education opportunities. Implications regarding curricular changes aimed at STEM education and model adoption are addressed.


STEM STEM education Underrepresented populations Urban Achievement gap Testing Standardized tests