Education Doctorate

Year Approved


First Advisor

Paulson, Patricia


This mixed-methods study explored the journey of two elementary STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) magnet schools. Both schools are marketed as using integrated, hands-on, problem solving approaches; science is the focus at one school while the other uses engineering. A survey was used to collect data to analyze the frequency of use of science and engineering practices between. No statistical differences in frequency of use was found between the two STEM magnet schools. Interviews revealed practices were used more often than reported on the survey. A chi-squared test was completed to compare five years of data on state assessments. Mathematics and science scores at the science-based STEM magnet school were statistically higher than a traditional school in the same district. There was no statistical difference between the engineering-based STEM magnet and its traditional counterpart. Qualitative data gathered through interviews at both schools revealed strong building leadership, ongoing and supportive professional development, and integrated instruction were key pieces to implementing and using STEM-based instruction that impacted student achievement and student engagement.

Degree Name

Education Doctorate

Document Type

Doctoral dissertation