Date of Award

January 2021

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Todd McCardle

Department Affiliation

Teaching, Learning, and Educational Leadership

Second Advisor

Roger C. Cleveland

Department Affiliation

Teaching, Learning, and Educational Leadership

Third Advisor

Norman W. Powell

Department Affiliation

Teaching, Learning, and Educational Leadership


The United States is losing its position as an innovative global leader because of a shortage of skilled workers in STEM. This decline is due in part to the US producing a lower number of graduates from STEM related fields. One reason for the shortage is that US students are selecting or graduating with STEM majors at a lower rate than those of competing countries. As a result of these shortages, the US has undertaken several initiatives to increase public awareness of and training in STEM that will ultimately produce STEM degrees.

The purpose of this research was to examine the performance differences that exist between web-based introductory math courses and classroom-based introductory math courses at an HBCU over 3 academic years. The research questions that guided this study were:

1. What differences, if any, exist between an online introductory math class and a classroom-based introductory math class as it relates to grades, race, gender, age, and major?

2. What difference, if any, exists between STEM majors in an online introductory math class and classroom-based introductory math class?

To discover answers to the research questions, I conducted a non-experimental descriptive comparative study utilizing quantitative methods and found that when using independent sample t tests, student performance in the introductory mathematics course significantly differed according to gender, race, and academic major. This demographic difference in academic performance were specifically seen with female students, White students, and students of non-STEM majors as they outperformed their respective counterparts.

The end result is that HBCUs are a relevant solution to the STEM challenge in the United States. The outstanding institutions of higher learning can not only address the global shortage of innovative STEM workers, but can also lead the way for an even more diverse and inclusive workforce and community.