Date of Award

Spring 5-3-2019

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Education

First Advisor

Dr. Kevin Winslow

Second Advisor

Dr. Laura Grayson

Third Advisor

Dr. Jennifer Gross

Abstract

Within the confines of this study, the Researcher investigated Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Gateway program outcomes at a Midwest suburban school district. The study examined specific academic achievement outcomes and attitudes regarding STEAM courses and STEAM careers among students who completed at least one semester in a middle school PLTW Gateway program. The Researcher attempted to determine if there was a difference in student attitudes related to STEAM between students who enrolled in a PLTW Gateway course and students who never enrolled in PLTW Gateway, as determined in an online survey. The Researcher also attempted to determine if there was a difference related to test scores on the Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) in the subject areas of math and science between PLTW Gateway and non-PLTW Gateway students. Survey results showed that taking one PLTW Gateway course in middle school resulted in more positive attitudes of students, toward future STEAM courses and careers, when compared to peers who did not take any PLTW Gateway courses. Specifically, the study results showed that taking one PLTW Gateway course created more interest in a STEAM career, and resulted in students feeling more prepared for a STEAM career. Also, students who took at least one PLTW course were likely to take another PLTW course in high school. The Researcher’s analysis of the historical MAP data from four middle schools over three years (2015, 2016, & 2017) showed no difference between PLTW Gateway and non-PLTW Gateway math and science MAP scores. The intention of this study was to provide a specific examination of the middle school PLTW Gateway program by comparing attitudes and state test scores of students iii who took at least one PLTW Gateway course to those students who did not. Although this study met a need for more specific research examining PLTW Gateway outcomes, a more thorough examination, perhaps a qualitative study of PLTW Gateway students, could expand on the work of this study, shedding even more light on student attitudes regarding STEAM courses and/or careers. The Researcher recommends further research be conducted either by PLTW, Inc., through state PLTW affiliates, or by other individuals, to delve more deeply into attitudes of middle school PLTW Gateway students.

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