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June 22, 2020
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NSF Grantees Poster Session
STEM graduation rates, cumulative GPAs, and final GPA distributions of years 2016 to 2019 graduates were evaluated for students who participated in Rice University’s STEM intervention (the Rice Emerging Scholars Program, or RESP, which is partly funded through an NSF S-STEM grant), which begins with a pre-freshman STEM summer bridge program. RESP participants (n=89) and a comparison category of students (n=81) were identified as being underprepared for STEM coursework. Outcomes from the rest of the graduating classes were also assessed (i.e., non-comparison, non-RESP students).
Incoming high school AP and IB credits were a moderate predictor of cumulative graduation GPA. After controlling for test credits, student status predicted cumulative graduation GPA, with higher GPAs in the non-comparison, non-RESP condition. Seventy-two RESP students graduated with a STEM major (81% STEM retention) compared with 62% of comparison students and 87% of non-comparison, non-RESP students. A chi-square test found a significant difference in favor of higher STEM retention among RESP students than the comparison students. Of RESP STEM graduates, 94% graduated with at least a B- GPA, compared with 86% of the comparison students, and 97% of the non-comparison, non-RESP students. A chi-square test approached significance in favor of more B- and above GPAs among RESP students than the comparison students.
Overall, we found that high school preparation predicted STEM students’ graduation GPAs. Further, although RESP participation did not predict the cumulative GPAs of STEM majors, the program may: 1) improve STEM degree persistence and 2) ensure that more of the program’s STEM graduates achieve at least a B- cumulative graduation GPA. The number of RESP and comparison students is relatively small, yet these findings nevertheless offer preliminary evidence that the intervention may be effective at improving STEM outcomes for students who would otherwise struggle the most with their coursework. As more students graduate from the university, we will be able to make stronger conclusions about the effectiveness of RESP in improving outcomes of underprepared STEM students.
Bradford, B., & Beier, M. E., & McSpedon, M., & Wolf, M., & Taylor, M. (2020, June), STEM Graduation Outcomes of the Rice University Emerging Scholars STEM Intervention and Summer Bridge Program Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35204
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