Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Education (Ed.D.)


Administrative and Instructional Leadership

First Advisor

Stephen Kotok

Second Advisor

Catherine DiMartino,

Third Advisor

Katherine C Aquino


The demand for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses in education aligns with the need to advance society through innovation and research. Proficiency in STEM courses and curriculum is critical for nations to become global economic leaders. However, the majority of students in high school do not participate in STEM programs due to barriers to access and inclusion in these programs, particularly for underrepresented groups inferred to Students with disabilities (SWDs). The current study uses secondary data with a study population of 20,000 students from the High School Longitudinal Study of 2009 (HSLS, 2009) to analyze the relationship between the independent variable (STEM enrichment program), as well as the dependent variables (math scores, number of STEM courses, and number of high school attendants). Overall, 8.2% of students responded as having a disability that affected their ability to succeed in STEM programs, while 91.8% indicated they had no disabilities. A bi-plots between STEM enrichment versus math scores, the total number of stem credits, and college attendants of students with disabilities and non-disabled were explored to see if the increased STEM enrichment programs significantly affected student math scores. The results showed that student math scores and the number of STEM credits generally increase as the number of STEM enrichment program offerings increases for disabled students. There is no significant relationship between STEM enrichment programs and the number of college attendants, however, because disabled students go to college for other courses in addition to taking STEM enrichment programs. Although STEM enrichment programs may offer useful experiences and skills, these programs—which frequently target high school students—might not address structural challenges students with disabilities have when trying to attend higher education. Results also showed that an increase in STEM enrichment programs has little effect on both student math scores and the number of college STEM credits taken by non-disabled students. Prioritizing STEM course offerings for students who are disabled, focusing on educational programs and policymaking, could potentially impact student performance in math for both students who are disabled and students who are not.