Date of Award


Access Restriction


Degree Name

Doctorate in Education



School or College

School of Education

First Advisor

Martha McCarthy

Second Advisor

Martha McCarthy

Third Advisor

Anita Kreide


With only 11% of the current Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) workforce being Black and Latino men and women, there is a crisis of underrepresented individuals in STEM fields. The construction of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), and the mantra “all standards, all students,” represents an attempt to increase access to science for more students, and increase their self-efficacy about STEM subjects, as low self-efficacy is cited as one of the main causes of disinterest in STEM subjects. This study examined the relationship between students’ self-efficacy in STEM fields and their career interests, specifically in a population of Black and Latino youth. The study further analyzed self-efficacy and STEM interest between two groups of middle school students, those engaged with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and those with traditional instruction. The Student Attitudes Towards STEM survey was distributed to 580 students to collect quantitative data on student self-efficacy in STEM and their attitudes towards varied STEM careers. Statistical analysis (correlation) determined a significant (p < 0.01) moderate correlation between students’ self-efficacy and STEM career interest. Statistical analysis (independent samples t-test) also determined there was no statistical difference between the two student groups. This study offers insights into the implementation of the standards, suggestions for future research around science programs in schools, and a call to action for all schools to offer science courses to all students from kindergarten to 12th grade to increase interest in STEM fields for future careers and life outside the classroom.