City University of New York study: More underrepresented students obtain science degrees and pursue STEM, due to research mentoring

11 Sep

Many educators have long recognized that the impact of social class affects both education achievement and life chances after completion of education. There are two impacts from diversity, one is to broaden the life experience of the privileged and to raise the expectations of the disadvantaged. Social class matters in not only other societies, but this one as well.
A few years back, the New York Times did a series about social class in America. That series is still relevant. Janny Scott and David Leonhardt’s overview, Shadowy Lines That Still Divide describes the challenges faced by schools trying to overcome the disparity in education. The complete series can be found at Social Class http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/15/national/class/OVERVIEW-FINAL.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 and http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/15/national/class/OVERVIEW-FINAL.html   Jason DeParle reported in the New York Times article, For Poor Strivers, Leap to College Often Ends in a Hard Fall http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/23/education/poor-students-struggle-as-class-plays-a-greater-role-in-success.html?hpw&_r=0

Social class and background may not only affect an individual student’s choice of major, but their completion of college in that major. Nick De Santis reported in the Chronicle of Higher Education article, Report Examines College Students’ Attrition From STEM Majors:

Twenty-eight percent of bachelor’s-degree students who began their postsecondary education in the 2003-4 academic year chose a major in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics at some point within six years, but 48 percent of students who entered those fields during that period had left them by the spring of 2009, according to a report released on Tuesday by the National Center for Education Statistics, the U.S. Education Department’s statistical arm.
The report, which addresses attrition from the so-called STEM fields, also includes information on students pursuing associate degrees. It says that 20 percent of such students had chosen a STEM major within that six-year period and notes that 69 percent of them had left the STEM fields by the spring of 2009.
Of the students who left STEM fields, the report says, roughly half switched their major to a non-STEM field, and the rest left college without earning a degree or certificate. The report notes that fields such as the humanities and education experienced higher levels of attrition than did the STEM disciplines.
The report identifies several factors associated with a higher probability of switching out of STEM majors, such as taking lighter STEM course loads or less-challenging math classes in the first year, and earning lower grades in STEM courses than in others….
http://chronicle.com/blogs/ticker/report-examines-college-students-attrition-from-stem-majors/69705?cid=pm&utm_source=pm&utm_medium=en

A Cornell University study found that should women remain in STEM programs they might be preferred for tenure-track faculty positions.  http://www.usnews.com/news/stem-solutions/articles/2015/04/13/report-faculty-prefer-women-for-tenure-track-stem-positions

Science Daily reported in More underrepresented students obtain science degrees and pursue STEM, due to research mentoring:

Graduation rates among science majors at a large minority-serving college have nearly tripled since the implementation of an undergraduate research experience (URE) program ten years ago. A new study in the Journal of Research in Science Teaching indicates that undergraduates who participate in mentored research not only graduate more often with science degrees, but also attend graduate school and pursue STEM careers at higher rates.

Established in 2006, John Jay College’s Program for Research Initiatives in Science and Math (PRISM) is an URE program that enables undergraduates to carry out guided scientific research. Although undergraduate STEM research has been de rigueur at major research universities, public Minority- and Hispanic-serving institutions like John Jay have historically struggled to provide their students with equivalent experiences and to keep them competitive with their majority peers. Tailored to students and faculty, PRISM has benefited both participants and the college. An extensive case study revealed that graduation rates from science have nearly tripled since PRISM’s inception, that the number of students pursuing graduate degrees has grown nearly ten fold, and that students receive author credit on journal articles more often than at other institutions. Furthermore, John Jay has seen a growth in both external funding and in full-time faculty focused on STEM research…                                                                                     https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/09/160908120344.htm

Citation:

More underrepresented students obtain science degrees and pursue STEM, due to research mentoring

Date:          September 8, 2016

Source:      The City University of New York

Summary:

A new study indicates that undergraduates who participate in mentored research not only graduate more often with science degrees, but also attend graduate school and pursue STEM careers at higher rates.

Journal Reference:

  1. Anthony Carpi, Darcy M. Ronan, Heather M. Falconer, Nathan H. Lents. Cultivating minority scientists: Undergraduate research increases self-efficacy and career ambitions for underrepresented students in STEM. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 2016; DOI: 10.1002/tea.21341

Here is the press release from City University of New York:

Public Release: 8-Sep-2016

More underrepresented students obtain science degrees & pursue STEM, due to research mentoring

The City University of New York

New York, NY – Graduation rates among science majors at a large minority-serving college have nearly tripled since the implementation of an undergraduate research experience (URE) program ten years ago. A new study in the Journal of Research in Science Teaching indicates that undergraduates who participate in mentored research not only graduate more often with science degrees, but also attend graduate school and pursue STEM careers at higher rates.

Established in 2006, John Jay College’s Program for Research Initiatives in Science and Math (PRISM) is an URE program that enables undergraduates to carry out guided scientific research. Although undergraduate STEM research has been de rigueur at major research universities, public Minority- and Hispanic-serving institutions like John Jay have historically struggled to provide their students with equivalent experiences and to keep them competitive with their majority peers. Tailored to students and faculty, PRISM has benefited both participants and the college. An extensive case study revealed that graduation rates from science have nearly tripled since PRISM’s inception, that the number of students pursuing graduate degrees has grown nearly ten fold, and that students receive author credit on journal articles more often than at other institutions. Furthermore, John Jay has seen a growth in both external funding and in full-time faculty focused on STEM research.

To reach these conclusions, researchers made use of institutional and program data collected over three years, interviews and focus groups, and surveys. Notably, the study found that PRISM positively affected students’ decisions to pursue graduate degrees and STEM careers, impacting Black and Hispanic participants more significantly than their White and Asian counterparts. Lead author Anthony Carpi, Professor of Environmental Toxicology and Dean of Research at John Jay College, City University of New York, said, “We were delighted to see the impact that undergraduate research experiences have on our students’ career plans. John Jay has a robust and diverse pipeline of students moving on to post-graduate professional careers in STEM fields, and it is exciting to see these students becoming skilled scientists.”

Norman Lederman, Distinguished Professor of Mathematics and Science at the Illinois Institute of Technology, said, “It has long been known that actual research experiences in science and mathematics impact students’ attitudes toward science and mathematics as well as the STEM career aspirations of pre-college and college students. It has also been known that under represented students tend to select themselves out of STEM fields for a variety of social and cultural reasons. The PRISM program at John Jay College has produced extremely compelling results and it serves as an impressive model for other universities, especially those that do not initially have high-level research profiles.”

This study represents the initial stage of a multi-pronged evaluation of John Jay’s URE program with subsequent phases focusing on quantitative comparisons. For now, PRISM appears not only to redress some of the education and employment inequities faced by minority students, but also to serve as an example to other institutions that wish to send more underrepresented students into the STEM workforce.

###

The City University of New York is the nation’s leading urban public university. Founded in New York City in 1847, the University comprises 24 institutions: 11 senior colleges, seven community colleges, and other professional schools. The University serves nearly 275,000 degree-credit students and 218,083 adult, continuing and professional education students.

For more information, please contact Shante Brooker.

The Cornell study points to the need for good science education to prepare a diverse population for opportunities. K-12 education must not only prepare students by teaching basic skills, but they must prepare students for training after high school, either college or vocational. There should not only be a solid education foundation established in K-12, but there must be more accurate evaluation of whether individual students are “college ready.”

Related:

Girls and math phobia
https://drwilda.com/2012/01/20/girls-and-math-phobia/

Study: Gender behavior differences lead to higher grades for girls

https://drwilda.com/2013/01/07/study-gender-behavior-differences-lead-to-higher-grades-for-girls/

University of Missouri study: Counting ability predicts future math ability of preschoolers https://drwilda.com/2012/11/15/university-of-missouri-study-counting-ability-predicts-future-math-ability-of-preschoolers/

Is an individualized program more effective in math learning?
https://drwilda.com/2012/10/10/is-an-individualized-program-more-effective-in-math-learning

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