How Statistical Model Development Can Obscure Inequities In Stem Student Outcomes

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2022
Authors
Nissen, Jayson
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Begell House
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Van Dusen, Ben
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School of Education

The School of Education seeks to prepare students as educators to lead classrooms, schools, colleges, and professional development.

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The School of Education was formed in 2012 from the merger of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction and the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies.

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2012-present

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  • College of Human Sciences (parent college)
  • Department of Curriculum and Instruction (predecessor)
  • Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies (predecessor)

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Abstract
Researchers often frame quantitative research as objective, but every step in data collection and analysis can bias findings in often unexamined ways. In this investigation, we examined how the process of selecting variables to include in regression models (model specification) can bias findings about inequities in science and math student outcomes. We identified the four most used methods for model specification in discipline-based education research about equity: a priori, statistical significance, variance explained, and information criterion. Using a quantitative critical perspective that blends statistical theory with critical theory, we reanalyzed the data from a prior publication using each of the four methods and compared the findings from each. We concluded that using information criterion produced models that best aligned with our quantitative critical perspective's emphasis on intersectionality and models with more accurate coefficients and uncertainties. Based on these findings, we recommend researchers use information criterion for specifying models about inequities in STEM student outcomes.
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This accepted article is published as Van Dusen, B., Nissen, J., How Statistical Model Development Can Obscure Inequities In Stem Student Outcomes. Annual Review of heat Transfer. 2022; 27-58. https://doi.org/10.1615/JWomenMinorScienEng.2022036220. Posted with permission.
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