Journal of Science Education and Technology

, Volume 25, Issue 6, pp 995–1007 | Cite as

Urban High School Student Engagement Through CincySTEM iTEST Projects

  • Gulbahar H. Beckett
  • Annette Hemmings
  • Catherine Maltbie
  • Kathy Wright
  • Melissa Sherman
  • Brian Sersion


This paper focuses on the notable heightening of underrepresented students’ engagement in STEM education through project-based learning CincySTEM iTEST projects. The projects, funded by an iTEST NSF grant, were designed and facilitated by teachers at a new STEM urban public high school serving low-income African-American students. Student engagement conceptualized as a psychological process involving affective and behavioral participation in classroom activities was evaluated through a mixed-methods approach. Findings indicate that affective and behavioral participation was significantly enhanced when project activities utilized digital devices in hands-on investigations of real-world project activities. Explanations for the success of CincySTEM iTEST projects are presented in the conclusion along with challenges for sustainability.


iTEST Project-based learning STEM education Student engagement National Science Foundation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gulbahar H. Beckett
    • 1
  • Annette Hemmings
    • 2
  • Catherine Maltbie
    • 3
  • Kathy Wright
    • 4
  • Melissa Sherman
    • 4
  • Brian Sersion
    • 5
  1. 1.Iowa State UniversityAmesUSA
  2. 2.Edgewood CollegeMadisonUSA
  3. 3.University of CincinnatiCincinnatiUSA
  4. 4.Hughes STEM High SchoolCincinnatiUSA
  5. 5.Cincinnati Public SchoolsCincinnatiUSA

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