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Evaluating the ExpandEd Schools STEM Options Program

About STEM Options

The STEM Options program was designed to equip high-need high school students with important STEM skills, including computer science skills, school and career interest, and workplace readiness—with the ultimate goal of promoting successful postsecondary STEM pursuits. STEM Options combines three promising strategies: 1) credit-bearing apprenticeships in STEM fields as part of high school coursework; 2) student-driven project-based learning, and 3) teaching internships, in which high school students cement their understanding of STEM by teaching  other students.

About Our Study

The Research Alliance is partnering with ExpandEd Schools to conduct a rigorous study of STEM Options’ implementation and impact. The study is aimed at better understanding how many and which students are interested in STEM apprenticeships, documenting students’ experiences in the programs, and assessing how the programs shape students’ interest and engagement in STEM subjects and fields. The three-year study includes an analysis of STEM Options’ implementation, which is documenting the student recruitment and engagement process, the dynamics and operation of the apprenticeship programs, and the experiences and activities that take place in the summer teaching internships. The study will also assess STEM Options’ impact on three related student outcomes: 1) interest, engagement, and knowledge of STEM and/or computer science; 2) high school achievement and progress toward graduation; and 3) post-secondary readiness and preference for a college major.

This study is supported by an Education Innovation and Research (EIR) grant from the US Department of Education to ExpandEd Schools.

Related Publications

Recruiting and Retaining High School Students in Out-of-School Work-Based Learning

In the first report of two from the Research Alliance's study of ExpandED STEM Options, we examine student recruitment, enrollment, and retention for the 2022 cohort.

Read More

Project Team

James Kemple

Senior Fellow; Research Professor of Teaching and Learning