Francesca Henderson Investigates Barriers on the Calculus Pathway to STEM

Henderson_Francesca_Headshot 2019.

Francesca Henderson investigates barriers on the calculus pathway to STEM

Francesca Henderson explores why students leave Calculus sequences and STEM programs, and sheds light on strategies for addressing those barriers in her report Charting a New Course: Investigating Barriers on the Calculus Pathway to STEM. 

Henderson and her colleagues examine several factors that interfere with students’ progress in calculus sequences and into STEM majors. She also offers numerous opportunities and strategies to help resolve these barriers, from revising placement practices to deepening professional learning. 

Henderson and her colleagues observed that the pattern is most distinct among Black and Latin students and others historically underrepresented in college. The report hopes to inform those in California that individuals, especially in populations excluded from STEM majors, have increased access to STEM majors. 

The report was conducted through Just Equations, an independent resource on the role of mathematics in education equity that works across education systems to ensure every student grows their quantitive foundation. 

Henderson is currently working toward her Ph.D. in Mathematics Education in the Department of Teaching and Learning, Policy and Leadership. She also received her bachelor’s in Mathematics from San Diego State University and a Master’s in Education from High Tech High Graduate School of Education. She has worked for Just Equations over the past two years.