Missouri Project Lead the Way Longitudinal Study

Focus Areas: STEM Education, Postsecondary Education, K-12 Education

This project links K-12 and postsecondary state data to examine the impact of a national STEM curriculum called Project Lead the Way.

The UERC is collaborating with researchers at the Sinquefield Center for Applied Economic Research at St. Louis University, and the University of Missouri-Columbia to conduct a longitudinal study of the high school and college outcomes of high school Project Lead the Way (PLTW) completers.

Student participation in PLTW courses in high school has been captured by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). This information will be correlated with postsecondary outcomes using data from the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC) and the Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development (DHEWD). High school outcome variables include graduation and credits earned in STEM courses. Postsecondary variables of interest include enrollment, declared field of study, persistence, remediation, graduation, and degree attainment.

Research questions

  1. How do the high school outcomes of PLTW participants differ from those of non-participants?
  2. How do the postsecondary outcomes of PLTW participants differ from a comparison sample of non-participants?
  3. If PLTW participants are found to have more positive postsecondary outcomes than non-participants, we will examine the differential benefits of PLTW participation for different demographic groups.

In addition to investigating whether PLTW participants have better postsecondary outcomes than non-participants, a primary goal of this project is to demonstrate the value of using longitudinal data from multiple state agencies for researching important policy issues. A report of preliminary findings from this study is linked below.

Read the final report

STEM Day presentation at the Missouri Capitol