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Board # 93 : The Role of High School Math and Science Course Access in Student College Engineering Major Choice and Degree Attainment

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Conference

2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topics

Diversity and NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count

11

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/27957

Download Count

75

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Paper Authors

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Joyce B. Main Purdue University, West Lafayette (College of Engineering)

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Joyce B. Main is Assistant Professor of Engineering Education at Purdue University. She holds a Ph.D. in Learning, Teaching, and Social Policy from Cornell University, and an Ed.M. in Administration, Planning, and Social Policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

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Rajeev Darolia University of Missouri

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Rajeev Darolia is Assistant Professor and Director of Research of the Institute of Public Policy at the University of Missouri. He holds a PhD in Public Policy from George Washington University.

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Cory Koedel University of Missouri

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Cory Koedel is an Associate Professor of Economics and Public Policy at the University of Missouri.

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Junpeng Yan University of Missouri

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Junpeng Yan is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis at the University of Missouri. He holds a master's degree in economics from Shanghai University of Finance and Economics in China.

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Jean Felix Ndashimye Univesity of Missouri-Columbia

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Jean Felix Ndashimye is a doctoral student in the Truman School of Public Affairs at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Ndashimye holds a Master’s in Public Affairs from the University of Missouri. His main research interests are program evaluation and education policy.

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Abstract

Previous research has documented numerous factors that impede the progress of women and underrepresented minorities in engineering fields, which can be broadly categorized into six factors: “classroom and academic climate, grades and conceptual understanding, self-efficacy and self-confidence, high school preparation, interest and career goals, and race and gender” (Geisinger and Raman, 2013). While high school preparation is a critical determinant in student success, many of the connections between high school characteristics and college outcomes have not been thoroughly studied. This study helps fill this important knowledge gap by examining how high school math and science course taking, as well as access to high school math and science courses, explain engineering major choice and degree attainment in college.

To identify the connection between high school math and science courses and college engineering major choice and degree completion, we apply both descriptive and regression analyses. We use comprehensive administrative data from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). The sample includes all public high schools (grades 10-12) in Missouri between 1996 and 2009. Data include student-level demographic information and academic transcripts, and high school-level characteristics (e.g., proportion of students on free and reduced lunch, number of math and science offered, and level of urbanicity).

The number of math and sciences credits offered at high schools may determine the level of preparation prospective engineering students in college have and should also be taken into account when designing first-year engineering courses. High school characteristics help shape the opportunities and experiences of students, and should be considered in college recruitment strategies and in the evaluation of individual college applications. Therefore, our findings have important implications for understanding how to prepare high school students to pursue college engineering majors, as well as for college engineering programs to consider how high school academic records should be considered in terms of admissions policies.

Main, J. B., & Darolia, R., & Koedel, C., & Yan, J., & Ndashimye, J. F. (2017, June), Board # 93 : The Role of High School Math and Science Course Access in Student College Engineering Major Choice and Degree Attainment Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. https://peer.asee.org/27957

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