Attrition in Science, Technology, Engineering, and by Jannette Valerio

By Jannette Valerio

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The amount of STEM coursetaking in the first year, the type of math courses taken in the first year, and performance in STEM coursework were among the most important factors associated with the outcome of leaving STEM fields by switching majors. , 50 percent or more of total credits earned in STEM fields) (39 percent vs. 18 percent). Compared with students who took calculus or advanced math courses in the first year of college, those who took introductory math courses had a higher probability of switching majors (31 percent vs.

24 percent). Furthermore, STEM entrants who first attended for-profit 4-year institutions had a higher dropout rate (57 percent) than their counterparts who first attended public 4-year and private nonprofit 4-year institutions (20 percent and 18 percent, respectively). 22 Xianglei Chen Table 2. 4 ! 1 ! 4 ! 1 ! 3 ! 9 ! 5 ! 5 ! Interpret data with caution. Estimate is unstable because the standard error represents more than 30 percent of the estimate. ‡ Reporting standards not met. 1 “PSE” refers to postsecondary education.

Looking at bachelor’s degree STEM entrants first, proportionally more females than males left STEM fields by switching to a non-STEM major (32 percent vs. 26 percent), whereas proportionally more males than females left STEM fields by dropping out of college (24 percent vs. 14 percent) (table 2). Of all racial/ethnic groups, Asians left STEM fields by dropping out of college at the lowest rate (10 percent vs. 20−29 percent for other racial/ethnic groups). Also, proportionally fewer Asians than blacks left STEM fields by switching majors, but there was no measurable difference between Asians and their White and Hispanic counterparts in terms of leaving STEM fields by switching majors.

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