Interactions Among Household Distractions, Stem Student Adaptation Decisions, and Stem Performance During COVID 19 Pandemic

Student Classification


Faculty Mentor

Andrea Ofori-Boadu, Built Environment, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University


Construction Management

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 4-2021


The recent outbreak of the COVID-19 virus affected STEM students’ learning across the nation. Institutions evacuated campuses due to the virus, and students were forced to return home and transition to online education. As part of a broader nationwide study, this mixed-methods research utilized one-hour ZOOM interviews to obtain narrations of COVID related experiences from 63 STEM students in six different U.S. institutions. The NVivo qualitative analysis software was utilized for coding, categorization, and theme development. Research findings indicated that students experienced unique stresses from multiple household distractions, and these stresses impacted their STEM learning experiences. STEM students who were able to make effective adaptation decisions minimized negative impacts on STEM learning and performance. In conclusion, students experienced household distractions and made adaptation decisions to reduce negative impacts on their STEM learning and performance. Personal adaptation decisions to include advising household members, changing STEM study times, and finding alternate STEM study spaces can minimize household distractions during pandemics. STEM students, household members, and institutions should develop strategies and practices to minimize negative impacts from household distractions. Future research will focus on quantifying the effect of household distractions on STEM performance.

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