Broadening Participation Research Grant: Applying the Performance Pyramid to STEM Education
The Lincoln University HBCU-UP Broadening participation Research in STEM Education project is entitled Applying the Performance Pyramid to STEM Education. The study proposes the use of a comprehensive theoretical model derived from performance evaluation in business settings to examine the support needs of underrepresented minority STEM students. The theoretical model is intended to explain the reasons why curricular innovations may or may not be effective. It will also guide curricular design by giving innovators the flexibility to develop programs that appear different from established programs but still bear the same foundational principles of performance success. The broad goals of the proposed project are to (1) improve the participation and success of African American students in STEM disciplines; (2) adapt a performance model to create measures to examine minority student support in STEM programs; and (3) broadly communicate the performance model, measures, and research findings through communication with local and national stakeholders.
The proposal outlines three studies that test the Performance Pyramid model of evaluating the foundations of differential engagement of ethnic groups in STEM disciplines. The first study will be a needs assessment to identify the level of perceived support available to African American STEM majors. The second and third studies will use the needs assessment data to design two innovative programs (Math2 and STEM Alliance) to increase support, learning, and persistence of African American STEM majors. The study will apply the Performance Pyramid support systems as a framework to determine the foundational reasons why African American students succeed in STEM disciplines. This can ultimately produce a viable model for assessing academic support systems for minority STEM students and increase retention.