ERIC Number: ED558031
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 69
Development of STEM Readiness Benchmarks to Assist Educational and Career Decision Making. ACT Research Report Series, 2015 (3)
Mattern, Krista; Radunzel, Justine; Westrick, Paul
Although about 40% of high school graduates who take the ACT® test express interest in pursuing a career in a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) field, the percentage of first-year students in college who declare a STEM major is substantially lower. The pool of prospective STEM workers shrinks further as the majority of STEM majors do not earn a STEM degree. A lack of academic preparation in science and mathematics has been offered as one explanation for the leaky STEM pipeline. The purpose of this research was to develop STEM readiness benchmarks to provide prospective students more tailored information on the level of knowledge and skills needed to have a reasonable chance of success in first-year STEM courses. The research had three components: Study 1-identified the mathematics and science courses that STEM majors take most often in the first year of college. In mathematics, the most prevalent course was Calculus. In science, multiple courses were identified as typically taken by STEM majors: Biology, Chemistry, Engineering, and Physics, Study 2-derived empirically based STEM readiness benchmarks in mathematics and science by estimating the ACT Mathematics and Science test scores associated with a 50% probability of earning a grade of a B or higher in the identified STEM courses. Specifically, the median ACT Mathematics score associated with a 50% probability of earning a B or higher grade in Calculus is 27. The median ACT Science score associated with a 50% probability of earning a B or higher grade in Chemistry, Biology, Physics, or Engineering is 25, and Study 3-validated the STEM readiness benchmarks on more distal indicators of success. Results demonstrated that STEM majors who met the STEM readiness benchmarks were more likely to earn a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher, persist in a STEM major, and earn a STEM-related bachelor's degree. Providing STEM readiness information to prospective students may help facilitate the transition to college by aligning students' expectations with course demands. An appendix contains additional tables.
Descriptors: STEM Education, Benchmarking, Majors (Students), College Freshmen, College Readiness, Career Readiness, Course Selection (Students), Required Courses, Grade Point Average, High Achievement, Academic Persistence, Regression (Statistics), Probability
ACT, Inc. 500 ACT Drive, P.O. Box 168, Iowa City, IA 52243-0168. Tel: 319-337-1270; Web site: http://www.act.org
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Numerical/Quantitative Data
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: ACT, Inc.
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: ACT Assessment