Exploring the Relationship between Aspects of Integrated STEM Education and Student Attitudes towards STEM

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Exploring the Relationship between Aspects of Integrated STEM Education and Student Attitudes towards STEM

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Integrated STEM education (iSTEM) has been promoted as an effective approach not only to develop scientific and mathematical literacy among learners, but also to improve student attitude towards learning STEM. By realizing these purported benefits, iSTEM is posited to encourage students’ pursuance of STEM-related careers. While there are existing studies that investigated the relationship between certain iSTEM activities/ curricula and change in student attitudes, there is a lack of research examining the operationalization of iSTEM and its aspects in relation to change in student attitudes towards STEM and the role of demographic variables in predicting these outcomes. Thus, the current study used multilevel modeling and an exploratory approach to investigate the relationship between aspects of iSTEM and change in student attitude towards STEM.Overall, the findings suggest that the main effects of the aspects of iSTEM on changing student attitudes towards STEM are not statistically significant with respect to the data. However, some of these aspects become important when looking at their interaction with demographic variables such as gender and race in terms of predicting attitudinal change. Among other findings, the moderating effects of race, for example, necessitates the reevaluation of the implementation of iSTEM and relevant lesson content and question-prompts that may put non-White students at a disadvantage in terms of improving their attitude towards STEM. Moreover, the relationship between gender and student attitudes toward STEM is significantly varying across classrooms. This means that the predictors in the model have greater effect on male students’ overall change in student attitude towards STEM compared to that of female students. While the findings suggest that gender has no direct effect on the extent and direction of the change in STEM attitude, there are contextual effects that might be more pronounced on male students than in female students. This study leverages its exploratory approach to uncover potential areas of further investigation. More research can be done on the aspects of iSTEM that contribute to the improvement of student attitudes towards STEM and other less-explored variables that interact with the aspects of iSTEM. While there is a prevalence of research on how improving student attitudes toward STEM can address broader goals of STEM education, i.e. pursuance of STEM careers and improvement of STEM learning, studies that investigate factors that influence attitudinal change towards STEM are still lacking. Consequently, this work addresses that issue and contributes to the rather nascent and developing body of research on STEM attitudes.


University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. October 2022. Major: Education, Curriculum and Instruction. Advisor: Gillian Roehrig. 1 computer file (PDF); viii, 120 pages.

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Hiwatig, Benny Mart. (2022). Exploring the Relationship between Aspects of Integrated STEM Education and Student Attitudes towards STEM. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy, https://hdl.handle.net/11299/259725.

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