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ERIC Number: ED562124
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 16
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 27
Are Two-Year Colleges the Key to Expanding the Scientific Labor Force? Unpacking Gender and Racial-Ethnic Gaps in Undergraduate STEM Degrees
Perez-Felkner, Lara; Thomas, Kirby; Hopkins, Jordan; Nix, Samantha
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness
Given the explosion of theoretical and empirical interest in the STEM gender gap in recent years, almost exclusively focused on four-year colleges, this paper primarily investigates the following question: How does the nature of the gender gap differ among two- and four-year college students, if at all? This study seeks to answer the following sub-questions: (1) To what extent do men and women differ in the scientific degrees they complete?; (2) How does the gender gap in scientific degrees vary by race-ethnicity?; (3) How do individual background, pre-college, and college characteristics explain the gender gap in scientific degrees, and in particular in natural/engineering sciences degrees?; and (4) With the growing number of students attending two-year colleges, how does the gender gap in scientific degrees vary among two- and four-year college students? Analyses distinguish among scientific degree categories, to facilitate precision in interpreting sex segregation among distinct scientific disciplines. Researchers used the full panel of data from the Beginning Postsecondary Students (BPS) study of 2004-2009, a nationally representative, longitudinal study of first-time U.S. college students who first attended a postsecondary institution during the 2003-04 academic school year. Respondents were surveyed at the end of their first year and third year of college, and six years after first starting college. Results suggest that the gender gap in scientific degrees generally does not notably vary among two-year and four-year college enrollees. College type only meaningfully affects the gender gap in life sciences degrees, favoring women. While both men and women are more likely to major in life sciences in two- compared to four-year colleges, women are even more likely to do so when they initially enroll in two-year institutions. Results indicate that two-year colleges are not increasing parity in natural/engineering fields for women and underrepresented groups. Tables are appended.
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness. 2040 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208. Tel: 202-495-0920; Fax: 202-640-4401; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Two Year Colleges; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness (SREE)
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study