Campus Location

Dallas Campus (Online)

Date of Award


Document Type



Educational Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

Andrew Lumpe

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

John Kellmayer

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

Karen Maxwell


Female and minority student groups are underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programs and careers. Researchers have attributed this disparity to many factors; however, the primary factors are motivation and self-efficacy beliefs emerging during middle school. The purpose of this study was to examine why female and minority students enrolled and persisted in designated Texas-STEM academies by identifying themes related to Eccles’s expectancy-value model. In this qualitative case study, the researcher classified nine students from designated Texas Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (T-STEM) academies in a North Texas school district as persisters or nonpersisters. The researcher used interviews, application essays, and achievement data to examine the factors that influenced student enrollment and persistence in STEM academies from middle to high school. The results showed that both persisters and nonpersisters shared similar motivation and persistence factors in their decisions to enroll in T-STEM academies, with some noted differences in self-efficacy and academic beliefs. The researcher identified reasons that nonpersisters left the T-STEM academies and recommended ways for educational administrators to increase female and minority student participation and retention in STEM programs.

Keywords: STEM, motivation, persister, nonpersister, persistence

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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