Success Predictors in Postsecondary STEM Education and Employment for Students with Autism | SRI International

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Success Predictors in Postsecondary STEM Education and Employment for Students with Autism

For the National Science Foundation, SRI conducted a comprehensive study on success predictors in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education for students with autism. The study was built on a hypothesis that STEM success is influenced by a complex interaction between the individual and their social surroundings. Longitudinal analyses enabled researchers to characterize students’ academic and career trajectories and examine the relationship to successful outcomes in STEM for students with autism.

The project team analyzed data from the SRI-led National Longitudinal Transition Study-2 (NLTS2)—a nationally representative dataset of students with autism and other disability groups—to build an evidence base of factors associated with the postsecondary education and initial employment experiences of young adults with autism in STEM fields. The dataset was collected between 2001 and 2009, with a sample of more than 11,000 students with disabilities.

SRI conducted a secondary analysis of 900 students with autism to address four goals:

  1. To ascertain the prevalence and individual-level correlates of STEM-related college majors among students with autism relative to those with other disabilities.
  2. To examine the association between STEM experiences and other services during high school with later STEM-related academic achievement.
  3. To characterize the supports and services received in colleges by students with autism in STEM majors, student perception of those supports, and how they relate to STEM persistence and completion.
  4. To analyze patterns of employment in STEM-related jobs among young adults with autism and correlates of postsecondary degree completion and services received with successful career outcomes.

A summary of findings can be found in an SRI Blog Post: Turning Autism Research into Support for Learning.

SRI’s research is funded by Grant HRD-1130088 from the National Science Foundation. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.