June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
Minorities in Engineering
15.884.1 - 15.884.17
Money, Math and Engineering Graduation: More High School Funding Could Mean More Underrepresented Engineers
What is the effect of insufficient local funding of public high schools on high school math preparation and graduation in engineering? The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship of four independent variables that were in place after high school graduation for African American and Hispanic American engineering students (N=504), and the correlation of these variables with college graduation outcomes five years later. These factors included two indicators of standardized math test scores, the high school grade point average (GPA), and poverty level of the public high school community (indicated by the percentage of students qualifying for free or reduced cost lunch).
When college graduation outcomes were evaluated, it was determined that high school poverty was negatively correlated with math preparation. Math preparation was positively correlated with the likelihood of graduation in engineering. A multinomial logistic regression showed that the combined effect of these factors (math test scores, grade point average and community poverty indicator) does explain 76.5% of the variance in college graduation outcome.
Following is a summary of research and findings which include excerpts of the recent doctoral dissertation of Amy Freeman completed in August of 2009.
In 2007, African American and Hispanic engineers composed 25.0% of the total workforce in the United States according to the U.S. Department of Labor 31.Were this figure evenly distributed across all occupations, one in four of all employed persons in the U.S. (waiters, landscapers, doctors, and others) would be African American or Hispanic. However, this is not the case for the engineering profession where African American and Hispanic Americans compose only 11.7% of engineering occupations (approximately 1 in 10). Many factors contribute to the underrepresentation of these populations in technological fields.
One primary variable determining access to the engineering profession is the attainment of the bachelor of science degree in engineering. Over the past 30 years, successful remedies have typically included race-based college admission selection processes and math-intensive college retention programming7,9,13,15,21,27,28 . The result has increased enrollments, but also raised legal questions regarding racial preferences. The legal ramifications of race-based access to college admissions, retention services and resources has been reflected in several court cases and anti-affirmative action propositions in the
Freeman, A., & Persaud, A., & Kharem, D., & Rothwell, W., & Yoder, E. (2010, June), Money, Math And Engineering Graduation: More High School Funding Could Mean More Underrepresented Engineers Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--17010
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