ERIC Number: EJ1023277
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-May
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
Problematizing the STEM Pipeline Metaphor: Is the STEM Pipeline Metaphor Serving Our Students and the STEM Workforce?
Cannady, Matthew A.; Greenwald, Eric; Harris, Kimberly N.
Science Education, v98 n3 p443-460 May 2014
Researchers and policy makers often use the metaphor of an ever-narrowing pipeline to describe the trajectory to a science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) degree or career. This study interrogates the appropriateness of the STEM pipeline as the dominant frame for understanding and making policies related to STEM career trajectories. Our review of pertinent literature and independent analysis of data from the National Educational Longitudinal Study of 1988 finds that the trajectory implied by the pipeline metaphor fails to describe the experience for nearly half of those who go on to become scientists or engineers, masks meaningful differences in trajectories by subfield, and informs policies that do little to diversify or increase the size of the STEM workforce. We suggest a pathway metaphor to better illuminate the multiple trajectories toward STEM degrees and careers and present four composite trajectories as useful categorizations of the individual paths taken by STEM graduates and career entrants.
Descriptors: STEM Education, Figurative Language, Educational Policy, Occupational Aspiration, Career Choice, Majors (Students), Literature Reviews, Longitudinal Studies
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research; Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A