Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Project Lead the Ways' Long-Term Effects on Post-Secondary Engineering Academic Success
by Zion, George H., Ph.D., State University of New York at Buffalo, 2017, 226; 10282064
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between students’ high school Project Lead They Way participation and their subsequent academic success in post-secondary engineering studies and to assess to what degree, if any, their level of Project Lead The Way (PLTW) participation, gender, and AALANA status (African American, Latino/a American and Native American) effected this success.

PLTW is the nation’s single largest provider of pre-engineering curriculums, the subject of this research study, currently being offered in over 3,200 secondary schools nationwide. Despite this level of integration, the amount of research on PLTW’s effectiveness has been very limited. To date, the majority of the literature on PLTW has examined its impact on students’ high school academic performance or their desire to further their engineering studies. The findings from these studies have been overwhelmingly positive, indicating that PLTW students often had greater achievements in math and science and either plan to, or have actually enrolled, in post-secondary studies at higher rates. Nevertheless, the amount of literature on PLTW’s effects on students’ academic success in post-secondary engineering studies is very limited. Furthermore, no research has yet to examine for the moderating effects of gender, ethnicity, or level of PLTW participation on students’ post-secondary academics success.

The population of interest for this research study was 1,478 students who entered an undergraduate engineering program from 2007 to 2009 at a privately endowed, co-educational university located in the northeastern United States.

The findings of this research study were that virtually all the effects of PLTW participation, gender, and AALANA status had on academic success were observed during students’ freshmen and sophomore years. These effects were positive for PLTW participation, and adverse for female and AALANA students. Additionally, PLTW participation, gender, and AALANA status only explained a small amount of the variance for each of the academic success metrics. These conclusions suggest that future research on PLTW should focus on the first and second year of study and expand the factors examined, both quantitative and qualitative, to gain a greater understanding of the complex factors that influence students’ initial academic success in post-secondary engineering studies.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Liu, Xiufeng
Commitee: Lee, Jaekyung, Waight, Noemi
School: State University of New York at Buffalo
Department: Learning and Instruction
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 78/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Secondary education, Science education
Keywords: Engineering education, Persistence, Pltw, Pre-engineering, STEM
Publication Number: 10282064
ISBN: 978-0-355-04681-6
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