The Impact of Inclusive STEM High Schools on Student Outcomes: a Statewide Longitudinal Evaluation of Texas STEM Academies

  • Guan SawEmail author


In recent years, the number of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) specialized schools has been rapidly increasing internationally. In the United States, a new movement of establishing inclusive STEM high schools (ISHSs) aimed at expanding access to specialized STEM education for underrepresented and diverse student groups has begun to emerge. Due to its recent emergence, rigorous evidence on the impact of ISHSs on student outcomes is scarce and inconclusive. This study adds to this limited but growing body of empirical literature by examining whether ISHSs have an effect on student achievement, course-taking, and high school completion, and if effects vary by sociodemographic subgroups. Focusing on the Texas STEM academies—the largest cluster of ISHSs in the US, and analyzing a decade-long data from the Texas Statewide Longitudinal Data System, pooled regression analysis results showed that while ISHSs had no impact on student test scores in mathematics and science, the effects are positive on completing advanced level math courses in high school. Subgroup analyses indicated that ISHSs generally have no differential effects on student outcomes by sociodemographic subgroups, with the exception that they improve the rates of high school graduation for racial minority and low-income students.


Inclusive STEM schools Pooled regression analysis Statewide longitudinal data Student achievement Texas STEM academies 



This research is funded by a grant from the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) College of Education and Human Development and the Texas OnCourse project, a partnership among the University of Texas at Austin (UT-Austin), the Texas Education Research Center (ERC), the Texas Education Agency (TEA), the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB), the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC). The conclusions of this research do not necessarily reflect the opinion or official position of the UTSA, UT-Austin, ERC, TEA, THECB, TWC, or the State of Texas. The author also thanks Chandra Muller, Matthew Giani, Celeste Alexander, Barbara Means, Haiwen Wang, Emi Iwatani, Hsun-Yu Chan, Brendan Swagerty, Shon Brewington, the anonymous reviewers, and the participants at the 2017 Texas OnCourse Research Network meeting, the 2017 UTSA Policy and Research in Education Seminar Series, and the 2018 American Educational Research Association annual meeting, for their constructive feedback on earlier versions of this article.


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Copyright information

© Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The University of Texas at San AntonioSan AntonioUSA

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