Date of Conferral







Donna D. Heretick


Student participation and performance in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) have been an education concern in the United States for years. In 2013, Texas lawmakers passed House Bill 5 (HB5) to support increases in STEM awareness, particularly among ethnic minority and female students. To date, no studies have been conducted on the impact, if any, of HB5 on Texas high school students’ course selections in STEM areas. Further, it is unknown whether the impact that does exist is equally distributed across socioeconomic status (SES), race/ethnicity, and gender groups. The purpose of this nonexperimental correlational quantitative study was to determine whether there was an increase post-HB5 in STEM course enrollments among African American, Latinx, and female high school students of various SES groups at a Texas regional service center. General systems and stereotype threat theories provided the theoretical framework for the study. Relative changes in enrollments in STEM classes for the 2016-2017 and 2020-2021 school years were computed from archival data from the Texas Education Agency Public Education Information Management System Standard Reports database. Multiple regression analyses were conducted to evaluate student race/ethnicity, gender, and SES as predictors of relative changes in enrollments in STEM courses. There were significant increases in enrollments among female students and decreases among male students across the two years and no differences between ethnicities or SES. Results may help educators and policy makers to understand the possible impact of HB5 on STEM enrollments and possibly develop further initiatives to attract more students to STEM areas leading to positive social change.