Collaborative Proposal: A Data-Intensive Exploration of the Links between SES and STEM Learning Outcomes

This project brings together an interdisciplinary research team from Duke University, SRI International, Teachers College, and the Association of American Geographers to explore relationships between the socioeconomic status (SES) of students and their STEM learning outcomes. The goals of this project are fourfold: (1) integrate data from state level youth-serving agencies, (2) develop visualizations of inter-agency data, (3) build the capacity of stakeholders, including teachers in STEM learning environments, and (4) collaboratively identify, with stakeholders, interventions to improve STEM learning environments. To accomplish these goals, the project team will integrate and analyze data from the North Carolina (NC) Department of Health and Human Services to obtain granular household-level transaction data from the state’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), i.e., “food stamps.” These data will be merged with data on public-school students’ performance on standardized tests, behavioral records, and absenteeism, which will be obtained from the North Carolina Education Research Data Center (NCERDC), the entity at Duke University that houses administrative data for the state Department of Public Instruction. Along with data analysis activities, the research team will work closely with stakeholders inside and outside of schools to better understand how to make use of data.

The motivations for this project are twofold (1) identify the links between SES and STEM Learning and (2) identify strategies for making data useful to practitioners.