Closing The Stem Gap With Culturally And Cognitively Appropriate Cyber-Instruction In An All-Girl Inner-City Charter School Stem Program: A Case Study

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Electrical and Computer Engineering


Doctor of Engineering

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It is rare that qualitative and emotional factors are explored in the field of engineering. Until recently, the use of both quantitative and qualitative strategies to examine a single research question has been a subject of considerable controversy and still remains a largely uncommon practice in engineering and engineering education. In this mixed-methods study, the researcher observed a cyber-learning math program and its effects on the experiences and outcomes of African American middle school girls (AAMSG) in an inner-city all girl middle school. Studies on the use of cyber-learning systems by black children reveal that they do not perform as well as their peers in other demographic groups in similar programs. Although African American students acquire gains in math learning and understanding, the math gap continues grow because of large as gains by Caucasian students. This mixed method study revealed that several cultural and cognitive factors lead to the lower achievement of the African American girls in math cyber-learning compared to all other demographics. After an intervention was introduced addressing these cultural (nature of learning objects) and cognitive (delivery of learning object) factors, the achievement gap in math was closed. The findings also extends existing themes surrounding the math achievement emotions of African America girls, showing a high correlation between culturally and cognitively appropriate cyber-instruction, math self-efficacy, value of math and math enjoyment. The researcher approached this study using a Critical Race Theory (CRT) Lens and a conceptual and theoretical framework grounded in Meyer's Cognitive Theory of Multi Media Learning.