Texas Hispanic STEM Research Alliance

This alliance seeks to examine and improve Texas Hispanic students’ participation, achievement, and advancement in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses and careers. Alliance work includes developing a research agenda, conducting research, and supporting the use of data and evidence to improve practice, policy, and student outcomes.

Goals

  • Identify factors affecting Hispanic student preparation for and achievement in K–12 STEM subjects
  • Increase state capacity to use data and research evidence to support Hispanic students’ entrance into and advancement in STEM K–20 education and careers

Research Focus

The alliance has identified the following topics as priorities:

  • STEM instruction
  • Pathways to STEM careers
  • Nonacademic factors

Alliance Flyer

screen cap of alliance flyer

Alliance Contact

Haidee Williams, Alliance Liaison
hkwilliams@air.org

Work Updates

2017

Summer/Fall

During this period, the Texas Hispanic STEM Research Alliance liaison and researchers communicated regularly with members to discuss alliance projects and to plan for sunsetting the alliance when the current REL Southwest contract ends in November 2017.

In October, staff conducted the final workshop for the Tracking Implementation of Strategies to Support Texas Hispanic STEM Students technical assistance project. This workshop series assisted alliance members in incorporating the findings from the Literature Review to Identify Indicators Related to Hispanic STEM Postsecondary Education Outcomes into the T-STEM (Texas Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Blueprint Benchmarks. The T STEM benchmarks are used by 124 T-STEM Academies across the state.

In October and November, staff completed the reports for the alliance's two studies: Associations Between Predictive Indicators and Postsecondary Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Success Among Hispanic Students in Texas and Advanced Courses in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math: Course Offerings and Completion in Texas. The final reports for these studies are available on the IES website. In addition, alliance members received certificates of appreciation from REL Southwest to recognize their participation in and commitment to the alliance.

Spring

During this period, the alliance liaison and researchers communicated regularly with members to address questions and provide updates on alliance projects.

In March, staff held the first workshop for the Tracking Implementation of Strategies to Support Texas Hispanic STEM Students project. This workshop series is assisting alliance members in incorporating the findings from the Literature Review to Identify Indicators Related to Hispanic STEM Postsecondary Education Outcomes into the T-STEM (Texas Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Blueprint Benchmarks. These benchmarks are used by 124 T-STEM Academies across the state.

In addition, staff continued finalizing the reports for the Texas Hispanic STEM Advanced Course Supply and Enrollment study and the Key Indicators Related to Postsecondary STEM Outcomes for Hispanic Students in Texas study. Both reports are expected to be published later this year.

Winter

During this period, the alliance liaison and researchers communicated regularly with members to address questions and provide updates on alliance projects.

In February, REL Southwest received approval for a new alliance project, Tracking Implementation of Strategies to Support Texas Hispanic STEM Students. This technical assistance project will incorporate the findings from the Literature Review to Identify Indicators Related to Hispanic STEM Postsecondary Education Outcomes to inform and support the implementation of the T-STEM (Texas Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Blueprint Benchmarks. These benchmarks are used by 124 T-STEM Academies across the state. The project team has identified which benchmarks will be the focus and begun planning and developing the initial workshop, which was held in late March 2017.

Also this quarter, staff continued revising the final reports for the ongoing alliance projects: the Texas Hispanic STEM Advanced Course Supply and Enrollment study and the Key Indicators Related to Postsecondary STEM Outcomes for Hispanic Students in Texas study.

2016

Fall

During this quarter, the Texas Hispanic STEM Research Alliance liaison and members communicated regularly to address questions, discuss projects, and plan and hold events.

In November 2016, REL Southwest staff conducted a presentation at the San Antonio STEM Council meeting. The principal investigator and alliance liaison presented an overview of the findings of two studies: Texas Hispanic STEM Advanced Course Supply and Enrollment and Key Indicators Related to Postsecondary STEM Outcomes for Hispanic Students in Texas. The liaison also met with members of the STEM Council to explore additional audiences for the findings of both studies.

In addition, during this quarter staff revised the final reports for the two studies to address IES feedback.

Summer

In July 2016, the liaison attended part of a five-day STEM training event through the Teacher Externships Project, at the invitation of an alliance member. Supported by the Texas Workforce Commission and the Alamo STEM Workforce Coalition, the program connects teachers with industry experts and local businesses to learn about the STEM skills required in different professions and industries. The goal is to help teachers better prepare students to enter the STEM workforce. The liaison also met with members of the Alamo STEM Workforce Coalition to explore potential projects on which to collaborate.

In August, the alliance's Planning-Leadership Team met to receive updates and discuss ongoing and proposed projects. The current projects discussed included the Texas Hispanic STEM Advanced Course Supply and Enrollment study and the Key Indicators Related to Postsecondary STEM Outcomes for Hispanic Students in Texas study. Staff have completed data analyses on these studies and begun drafting the final reports. The latter study builds on the results of the Literature Review to Identify Leading Indicators Related to Hispanic STEM Postsecondary Education Outcomes; the Stated Briefly report for this project was also published in August.

Spring

In April 2016, the Texas Hispanic STEM Research Alliance Leadership-Planning Team conducted a blended meeting to receive updates and provide feedback on ongoing alliance projects and activities, among them the engagement plan to share the Literature Review to Identify Leading Indicators Related to Hispanic STEM Postsecondary Educational Outcomes with the general public. This project has since been completed, and the final report is now available online.

During this quarter, REL Southwest staff completed data analyses for the Key Indicators Related to Postsecondary STEM Outcomes for Hispanic Students in Texas Study, which builds on the results of the literature review, and began drafting the final report. In addition, data analyses continued on the Texas Hispanic STEM Advanced Course Supply and Enrollment Study.

Winter

In November 2015, the Texas Hispanic STEM Research Alliance conducted a blended meeting to receive updates and discuss ongoing alliance projects, among them the Literature Review to Identify Leading Indicators Related to Hispanic STEM Postsecondary Education Outcomes. This project has since been completed, and the final report is now available online. Other projects discussed included the Key Indicators Related to Postsecondary STEM Outcomes for Hispanic Students in Texas study, which builds on the results of the previous literature review, and the Texas Hispanic STEM Advanced Course Supply and Enrollment study. Members discussed both how these studies could inform their current practice as well as the studies' limitations.

2015

Fall

In August 2015, the Texas Hispanic STEM Research Alliance hosted a workshop in San Marcos, Texas. Titled "Texas Questions About Hispanic Students in STEM: How to Find and Use Data in the Texas Hispanic STEM Research Alliance Data Inventory," the workshop was an interactive and hands-on session. Participants learned about the data available to address research questions related to Hispanic student STEM achievement and where to find the data. During the workshop, each participant developed research questions and explored where to look to find the data needed to answer the questions.

In October, a small group of alliance members met virtually to review the alliance's current research projects and suggest how to make them more relevant to their work. In addition, the group discussed options for the time and frequency for future alliance meetings and workshops.

Summer

In May 2015, the Texas Hispanic STEM Alliance Planning-Leadership Team met at the Toltech STEM Academy in San Antonio, Texas, to provide targeted feedback on a proposed project for the coming year. The team also discussed the development of a Texas Data Inventory workshop series for the alliance as well as potential applications from the Literature Review to Identify Leading Indicators Related to Hispanic STEM Postsecondary Educational Outcomes.

In June and July 2015, the REL Southwest finalized the Data Inventory workshop series and upon the recommendation of the Alliance Planning-Leadership Team, surveyed the alliance to identify suitable workshop dates for most members. Research staff also continued to refine the proposed Hispanic STEM Advanced Course Supply and Enrollment Study and other proposed studies to advance the alliance’s research agenda.

Spring

In February and March 2015, REL Southwest conducted site visits and delivered professional development workshops to alliance members in South Texas (the Education Service Center Region 1 area). The alliance liaison visited IDEA Charter Schools in Weslaco, Texas, and the Texas Valley Communities Foundation (TVCF) in Mission, Texas. IDEA Public Schools has two STEM schools, and TVCF engages parents and students in the Rio Grande Valley on college and career success. Through these site visits, the liaison provided member outreach and conducted informal needs sensing of the region's community and school districts.

Also in South Texas, REL Southwest delivered a two-part workshop series titled Understanding Logic Models with members of the English Learners Research Alliance and the Texas Hispanic STEM Research Alliance. Members hope to use the knowledge they gained to inform principal effectiveness evaluations, develop more structure for federal program evaluations, improve and update current logic models, and inform planning of new programs.

The Texas Hispanic STEM Research Alliance Planning-Leadership Team met as well during this quarter to provide targeted feedback on the proposed Hispanic STEM Advanced Course Supply and Enrollment study and the Data Inventory workshop for alliance members. The team also discussed how to share the findings from the STEM Labor Market study literature review and gap analysis with the full alliance.

Research staff continued to refine the Key Indicators Related to Postsecondary STEM Outcomes for Hispanic Students study and the Hispanic STEM Advanced Course Supply and Enrollment study.

Winter

In November 2014, alliance members participated in a face-to-face workshop, Understanding Logic Models Workshop II: Using Logic Models to Identify Research Questions and Frame Research Designs. After reviewing the basic topics covered in the first workshop, alliance members learned about the fundamentals of the research process, practiced developing research questions derived from a logic model, reviewed three types of program impact questions (average impact, differential impact, mediated impact), and then practiced utilizing logic models to generate program wonders and hypotheses. In February and March 2015, REL Southwest staff is planning to offer both Understanding Logic Models workshops again for the alliance members in the Region 1 Education Service Center, who were unable to attend the workshops in Central Texas.

In December, the liaison worked with alliance members to plan a presentation on promising strategies for engaging Hispanic families and community members in college and career readiness. The presentation was shared with the whole alliance at the quarterly webinar meeting in January 2015. In addition, during the meeting, alliance members reviewed current and proposed activities and research projects.

The literature review for the STEM Labor Market study was approved in December. Research staff continued to refine the proposal for the Hispanic STEM Key Indicators study and the new Hispanic STEM Advanced Course Supply and Enrollment study.

2014

October

The alliance liaison conducted site visits in South Texas with prospective members at the Hispanic Engineering, Science & Technology (HESTEC) Conference as well as with two existing members, with whom she discussed plans for future webinar meetings and technical assistance workshops. A tentative date was set for an alliance webinar meeting to share parental involvement strategies.

Work continued on the second Understanding Logic Models workshop, scheduled for November 3 in San Marcos, Texas. And in response to requests made during the site visits, the decision was made to repeat the Understanding Logic Models workshops in early 2015 for alliance members in South Texas.

Research staff continued to refine the proposal for the Hispanic STEM Key Indicators study. In addition, work continued on the report for the Texas Hispanic STEM Literature Review and on the STEM Labor Market study, with the study's literature review on track to be submitted in November 2014 and the study's gap analysis report on track to be submitted in January 2015.

August–September

The alliance held a quarterly meeting on September 2 via webinar. Members reviewed current and proposed activities and research projects, the research agenda, and an update memo on the Literature Review to Identify Leading Indicators Related to Hispanic STEM Postsecondary Educational Outcomes. On September 28, REL Southwest staff conducted the first Understanding Logic Models workshop in Austin, Texas. Alliance members who attended learned about logic model definitions, essential components, and formats. Workshop II will be in San Marcos, Texas, on November 3, 2014.

The proposal for the STEM Labor Market study was approved in August. Research staff continued to conduct a search of eligible studies for the Texas Hispanic STEM Literature Review and to refine the proposal for the Hispanic STEM Key Indicators study.

July

The Texas Hispanic STEM Research Alliance planning team met (in-person and virtually) to review the current year 2 alliance projects, products, and upcoming milestones. The planning team also discussed possible year 3 project ideas to address additional topics on the alliance research agenda. The team recommends convening research alliance meetings at a more central location to ease members' travel.

REL Southwest staff completed the development of materials and resources for the Understanding Logic Models Workshop Series for the alliance, tentatively scheduled for September and October 2014. Staff also continued to refine the proposals for the Hispanic STEM Key Indicators study and the STEM Labor Market study and to conduct a search of eligible studies for the Texas Hispanic STEM Literature Review.

June

The Texas Hispanic STEM Research Alliance planning team (a small group of alliance members who volunteer to serve a leadership role) met in Austin, TX, to provide focused feedback on and discuss the best strategy for sharing project updates and findings. The planning team also carefully reviewed the alliance research agenda. The next whole-group alliance webinar is proposed for early August.

During June, staff also began developing the Understanding Logic Models Workshop Series for the alliance. This series aims to assist alliance members in developing and using logic models, valuable tools for guiding program planning, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation as well as research agenda development. The series of two workshops is tentatively scheduled for Fall 2014.

Staff continue to conduct a search of eligible studies for the Texas Hispanic STEM Literature Review as well as to refine the proposals for the Hispanic STEM Key Indicators study and the STEM Labor Market study.

May

The Texas Hispanic STEM Planning Team scheduled its next face-to-face meeting for June 20 in Austin to provide focused feedback on selected alliance projects. The planning team also collaborated with REL Southwest staff to determine that the best time for the Understanding Logic Models Workshop would be in Fall 2014.

REL Southwest researchers continued the search for eligible studies for the Texas Hispanic STEM Literature Review. In addition, staff continued to develop and/or refine proposals for the STEM Labor Market study and the Hispanic STEM Key Indicators study.

April

The newly formed planning team for the Texas Hispanic STEM Research Alliance held its first meeting via webinar to establish team roles and processes, review the status of current projects, and discuss upcoming milestones and due dates. A portion of the discussion was dedicated to collaborating with the REL Southwest Project Lead on the Understanding Logic Models Workshop Series for this alliance. The team discussed types of logic models as well as possible applications of logic models by the entire alliance. The meeting concluded with a decision to conduct the next meeting in person at SEDL's headquarters in Austin, Texas, in June 2014.

REL Southwest staff continued to conduct a search of eligible research studies as part of the Hispanic STEM Literature Review. Staff are also working on a memo that will provide alliance members with an overview of how the literature review will be conducted. In addition, staff continued developing the proposal for the Hispanic STEM Key Indicators study and began refining the STEM Labor Market study.

March

In March, alliance members and REL Southwest staff met virtually to discuss the results of a survey conducted to prioritize the research questions the alliance has developed over the past several months. In addition, members discussed the upcoming Logic Model workshops, heard a member presentation on the results of a Latino male study conducted by the University of Texas, and learned about the formation of a Texas Hispanic STEM Planning Team. This planning team will include four to six alliance members who will meet more often with the REL Southwest alliance liaison and research staff to provide detailed feedback on the alliance's research and technical assistance projects. The meeting was well attended and during the meeting, three members volunteered to work on the planning team. Soon after the meeting, three more members volunteered to join as well, completing the formation of the Texas Hispanic STEM Planning Team.

Later in the month, a panel of alliance members presented at the 11th Annual Center for Mexican American Studies and Research Conference: "Adding 'Arts' to STEM: A Culturally Relevant STEAM" at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, TX. The members provided an overview of how to develop a research agenda and engaged the audience in a discussion around the importance of the alliance's three high-priority research topics: STEM instruction, pathways to STEM, and nonacademic factors.

In addition, the REL Southwest continues to conduct a Hispanic STEM Literature Review and to develop proposals for a STEM Key Indicators study and a STEM Labor Market study.

February

The alliance liaison conducted outreach and recruitment activities at the 7th Annual Texas STEM Conference, where she also presented information about the work of the Texas Hispanic STEM Research Alliance. The conference took place February 6–8 in Dallas, TX. After the conference, a research coordinator with Project MALES at UT-Austin joined the alliance.

Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, TX, is currently planning its spring conference, being held March 27–28 and titled “Adding ‘Arts’ to STEM: A Culturally Relevant STEAM.” The organizers for the event requested that Texas Hispanic STEM alliance members serve on a panel at the conference to discuss the work and progress of the alliance. The alliance liaison contacted several members to serve on the panel and to plan the presentation.

In addition, REL Southwest is conducting a literature review and developing proposals for a STEM Key Indicators study and a STEM Labor Market study in the regions identified by the alliance members.

January

Alliance members and REL Southwest researchers met virtually in January to discuss the research questions the alliance has been developing over the past several months. These questions, as part of the research agenda, will drive the alliance’s future research studies and projects. During the meeting, alliance members reviewed the questions for relevance and discussed whether they would produce research-based findings that could inform policy and practice related to improving STEM outcomes for Hispanic students in Texas. After the meeting, the research questions were posted in an online survey. The survey, which was available for two weeks, gave all alliance members an opportunity to identify the five research questions they considered most important for the alliance. The survey results will be shared and discussed at a March alliance meeting.