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ERIC Number: ED556490
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Nov
Pages: 38
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 58
Should We Still Be Talking about Leaving? A Comparative Examination of Social Inequality in Undergraduate Patterns of Switching Majors. WCER Working Paper No. 2014-5
Ferrare, Joseph J.; Lee, You-Geon
Wisconsin Center for Education Research
Despite extensive efforts to increase the number of undergraduates majoring and persisting in science, math, engineering, and technology (STEM) fields, there is surprisingly little understanding of recent patterns of switching from these majors to those in other fields of study. In addition, little is known about whether the racial, class, and gender dimensions to these patterns are unique to STEM fields or part of a process that affects majors in other fields across the higher education system. This working paper uses theoretically driven logistic regression models to examine these questions using the 2004/2009 cohort of undergraduate students from the Beginning Postsecondary Student Longitudinal Study (BPS:04/09). Results point to gender, race, and class-based disparities in patterns of switching majors that are unique to STEM fields, indicating that these disciplines are sites of ongoing struggles for proponents of equity in higher education and workforce development. The following are appended: (1) Appendix Table 1--Descriptive Statistics for Beginning Postsecondary Students who Began their Postsecondary Education in a Bachelor's Program (N = 5,200); and (2) Appendix Table 2--Variable Descriptions.
Wisconsin Center for Education Research. School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1025 West Johnson Street Suite 785, Madison, WI 53706. Tel: 608-263-4200; Fax: 608-263-6448; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Numerical/Quantitative Data
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation; Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
Authoring Institution: Wisconsin Center for Education Research
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study
Grant or Contract Numbers: DUE-1224550