High School Stem Teacher Perceptions of Female Student Success: A Descriptive Case Study

High School Stem Teacher Perceptions of Female Student Success: A Descriptive Case Study

Author: 
Gregory L. Londot
Program of study: 
Ed.D./CI
Abstract: 
This qualitative descriptive case study explored the perceptions of high school STEM teachers surrounding the phenomenon of female high school STEM students not selecting a pathway into a STEM degree program in a post-secondary institution. Twenty-one STEM teachers completed the online questionnaire with semi-structured open-ended questions. From the questionnaire, perceptions were analyzed and used for a detailed discussion within a STEM focus group comprised of 12 participants. The transcripts from the questionnaire and focus group discussion were entered into NVivo 11 software for qualitative analysis. This study explored STEM teacher perceptions revealing hidden teacher bias that may explain the phenomenon of low female selection of a STEM pathway into a post-secondary STEM program. The analysis revealed themes that connected directly and indirectly to an overarching theme of culture. Connected to the theme of culture were sub-themes. The five sub-themes were: (a) hidden bias, (b) family, (c) socio-economics, (d) gender, and (e) self-concept. These emergent themes revealed where social cognitive theory impacts female decision-making through triadic reciprocal causation resulting in female student selection into or away from a STEM pathway after secondary education. Educational leaders using anti-bias professional development can counteract hidden bias in education and increase awareness of the effect teachers and leaders have on female STEM students.
Dedication: 
I dedicate this doctoral journey to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. For in Him, all things are possible. In addition, I dedicate this journey to my wife, Donna, for her endearing love when I was most unlovable; for her patience, when mine was waning; for her guidance, when I lost my way; and mostly, for her partnership. I could not have completed this journey without her. I would also like to dedicate this research to my family that has endured without me many nights and weekends. Their love and support brought me through tough times and continued to hold me up. My two children, Nicole and Zachary, are my cheerleaders. My grandchildren, Rylan and Ryker, make me laugh and I enjoy every spare moment with them. Lastly, I want to dedicate this research to my friends and colleagues around the world. Each person impacts me in many different ways. Therefore, a little bit of each person in my life is found in these pages. Thank you all for your support and prayers.
Acknowledgements: 
I want to acknowledge those that believed in my work and dedicated their time for my completion of this project. First and foremost, Dr. Vandolyn Cabbil pushed me when I felt like giving up. She encouraged me to move in little steps so that I could make small accomplishments instead of a feeling of defeat each time I did not receive approval along the journey. Those late-night conference calls allowed me to think critically and make decisions wisely. I acknowledge Dr. Patricia Penn for her love of grammar and forcing me to edit, edit, and edit. Thank you for your wisdom in writing. And also Dr. Raj Singh for his insight into making this project work. My committee kept me going when I wanted to stop. In hindsight, it is easy to spot areas where I could have changed something or moved in another direction. However, I firmly believe I am right where I need to be and at the right time. Thank you all for your encouragement, wisdom, and the tenacity to keep me moving forward, even with all my work in China where the internet is not an option!