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Study of the Impact of Specialized Science High Schools

Abstract

"A central challenge for the National Research Council committee exploring Highly Successful Schools or Programs for K-12 STEM Education was to determine the attributes of success for different populations found within U.S. schools. Our charge was to focus on appropriate outcomes for learners gifted and motivated in science and mathematics, most particularly those who enrolled in selective secondary schools of science, mathematics and technology (SMT). Although policy makers tend to rely on standardized measures of achievement to rate student response to special interventions and programs, scholars studying high achievers have found that measuring program effectiveness with standardized tests is complicated by ceiling effects. As a result, our project ascribes success to completion of STEM related university majors or to the application of SMT content and skills to other productive career goals. The goal of our project, in sum, is to assess the value added by selective SMT schools to developing and maintaining the STEM pipeline and the application of STEM knowledge and skills to non-STEM pursuits through the university years."

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