Missouri Project Lead the Way Longitudinal Study

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

The KC STEM Alliance, representing employers and organizations that support workforce development in STEM fields, has engaged the Urban Education Research Center at UMKC, the Sinquefield Center at SLU, and the University of Missouri to conduct a longitudinal analysis of postsecondary outcomes of high school Project Lead the Way (PLTW) completers.

Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) data on high school coursework, experiences, and academic measures 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, GPA, credits earned in STEM courses, CTE experiences, and industry recognized credential attainment. 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.  Findings from this study are scheduled to be released in July 2021.