Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

William R. Penuel

Second Advisor

Margaret Eisenhart

Third Advisor

Ben Kirshner

Fourth Advisor

Tamara Sumner

Fifth Advisor

Heidi Carlone


Despite the established view that STEM education should be accessible to all students, disparities continue to exist across gender, race, and social class with regard to who pursues and success in STEM fields. Organized as a three-article set, this work examines two lines of inquiry aimed at improving teaching practices and learning opportunities within STEM education. Specifically, these articles look across two separate research contexts to trace the ways that teachers and school leaders understand the current context of STEM education reform, what these calls mean for their organizational and instructional practice, and the ways these decisions impact student participation and learning in STEM. These findings point to the integral role of collegial networks in supporting enactments of reform. Additionally, findings from this set suggest that lasting STEM education reform efforts require attention to the local practices present within schools and the particular needs of the student population these institutions serve.