ERIC Number: EJ1145690
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Jun
Abstractor: As Provided
Evaluating Psychosocial Mechanisms Underlying STEM Persistence in Undergraduates: Evidence of Impact from a Six-Day Pre-College Engagement STEM Academy Program
Findley-Van Nostrand, Danielle; Pollenz, Richard S.
CBE - Life Sciences Education, v16 n2 Article 36 Jun 2017
The persistence of undergraduate students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines is a national issue based on STEM workforce projections. We implemented a weeklong pre-college engagement STEM Academy (SA) program aimed at addressing several areas related to STEM retention. We validated an instrument that was developed based on existing, validated measures and examined several psychosocial constructs related to STEM (science identity, self-efficacy, sense of belonging to the university and to STEM, career expectancies, and intention to leave STEM majors) before and after the program. We also compared students in the SA program with a matched comparison group of first-year students. Results show that SA students significantly increased in science identity and sense of belonging to STEM and to the university, all predictive of increased STEM retention and a primary aim of the program. Relative to the matched comparison group, SA students began their first semester with higher STEM self-efficacy, sense of belonging, and science identity, positive career expectancies, and lower intention to leave STEM. The SA cohort showed 98% first-year retention and 92% STEM major retention. The SA program serves as a model of a scalable, first-level, cocurricular engagement experience to enhance psychosocial factors that impact undergraduate persistence in STEM.
Descriptors: STEM Education, Undergraduate Students, Academic Persistence, Program Effectiveness, College Freshmen, Self Concept, Self Efficacy, Student College Relationship, Occupational Aspiration, Intention, Comparative Analysis, Pretests Posttests
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Florida