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How We Talk About Students Matter: Re-framing Deficit Discourses of Underrepresented Students in STEM

How do administrators of STEM intervention programs describe underrepresented students? Using interview data, this paper analyzes various descriptions of underrepresented students and argues that such descriptions lend insight into the logic underlying STEM intervention efforts. Educational researcher Richard Valencia’s (1997; 2010) notion of education deficit thinking is used to identify how discourses of deficit are mobilized among administrators. The author argues that one way to help change the status quo in STEM fields – to increase representation of tradition­ally underrepresented groups – is for administrators to examine the language they use to describe women and students of color in their programs.

Reference Information

  • Author(s)

    Erin T. Castro

  • Title

    How We Talk About Students Matter: Re-framing Deficit Discourses of Underrepresented Students in STEM