SciGirls Strategies: Gender Equitable Teaching Practices in Career and Technical Education Pathways for High School Girls led by Twin Cities Public Television through an ITEST grant from the National Science Foundation (2015-2018). This three-year professional development initiative is designed to help career and technical education (CTE) educators and guidance counselors recruit and retain more girls in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) pathways, specifically in technology and engineering. The project’s goals are: 1) To increase the number of high school girls, including ethnic minorities, recruited and retained in traditionally male CTE-STEM pathways; 2) To enhance the teaching and coaching practices of CTE educators and counselors to include gender equitable and culturally responsive strategies; 3) To research the impacts of these strategies and role model experiences on girls’ interest in STEM careers; 4) To evaluate the effectiveness of training in these strategies for educators, counselors and role models; and 5) To develop training that can easily be placed online and scaled-up to reach a much larger audience.
XSci is conducting the research component to investigate girls’ personal learning experiences engaging with the project strategies and deliverables and how those experiences contribute to their science (or STEM-related) identity development against cultural and gender-based stereotypes, and within the context of prevalent anti-science attitudes among American youth. Specifically this study investigates: (1) To what extent their experiences impact their self-concepts in terms of sense of agency and self-efficacy, science and STEM concepts, capacity for STEM learning, and future choice aspirations for technical education studies and related careers. (2) Their ability to forge deeper and more personally relevant STEM connections and commitments (indicators of positive STEM identity development). This will include examining both the combined and individual component impacts of classroom STEM content elements, mentoring experiences, interactions with female STEM role-models (real and video-based), and the use of participatory video created by girls for sharing with others and becoming role models for others.