Beyond Academic Math and Science: The Role of Applied Engineering and Computer Science in the High School Curriculum

Principal Investigator: 
Project Overview
Background & Purpose: 

Applied STEM courses stress the application of academic concepts to “real world” job experiences while incorporating quantitative skills, logic, and problem solving. There are two main strands of applied STEM in the high school curriculum: computer/information sciences courses and engineering technologies courses. This study analyzes data from the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 to assess whether taking these courses in high school improves math achievement, influence math achievement in high school, supports entry into STEM majors (among college enrollees), and increases the odds of aquiring a job with STEM applications (among non-college going youth).


Our study is national in scope and uses the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 (ELS:2002), a nationally representative study of 10th-graders in 2002 sponsored by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). ELS:2002 includes a sample of approximately 15,360 students in 750 states. All states and the District of Columbia are represented.

Research Design: 

The Education Longitudinal Study (ELS) of 2002 is used to compare students who enroll in an Engineering and/or Computer Science course in high school vs. students who do not enroll is such courses.We apply multivariate, quasi-experimental regression techniques to discern whether academic courses, applied courses, or combinations of the two put students in the best position to excel in math, adopt STEM majors in college, and/or take jobs that incorporate STEM skills and concepts.


Findings will be posted as they become available.

Publications & Presentations: 

Michael Gottfried, Robert Bozick, and Sindjua Srinivasan."The Role of Applied Engineering and Computer Science Courses in the Production of Math Achievement in High School." Presented at the Annual Meetings of the Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness. Washington, DC: March 2012.

Other Products: 

Three journal articles are in progress.