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State Graduation Requirements, High School Course Taking, and Choosing a Technical College Major

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  • Federman Maya

    () (Pitzer College)

Abstract

I examine the changing patterns of enrollment of females and males in mathematics and science courses in high school between roughly the classes of 1982 and 1992. Course taking has increased in both subjects and, notably, the gender gap has closed. I also examine the impact of state graduation requirements on course taking patterns for males and females. Higher graduation requirements in mathematics and science are associated with increased course taking and the magnitude is similar for both females and males. Finally, I investigate the relationship between high school math and science course taking and college major choice for the latter cohort. Ability and taste are likely to affect both high school course selection and college major and students planning on choosing a technical major are more likely to choose to take additional math and science courses in high school. To address this issue of selection bias, I first include direct measures of ability and taste and then use variation in state graduation requirements to instrument for increased course taking. I find that the number of high school mathematics courses taken has a positive effect on the probability that a student chooses a technical major in college and that this result appears robust to correction for selection bias.

Suggested Citation

  • Federman Maya, 2007. "State Graduation Requirements, High School Course Taking, and Choosing a Technical College Major," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-34, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:7:y:2007:i:1:n:4
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    Cited by:

    1. David L. Sjoquist & John V. Winters, 2015. "State Merit Aid Programs and College Major: A Focus on STEM," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(4), pages 973-1006.
    2. Wiswall, Matthew & Stiefel, Leanna & Schwartz, Amy Ellen & Boccardo, Jessica, 2014. "Does attending a STEM high school improve student performance? Evidence from New York City," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 93-105.
    3. Winters, John V., 2014. "STEM graduates, human capital externalities, and wages in the U.S," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 190-198.
    4. Michael A. Gottfried & Robert Bozick, 2016. "Supporting the STEM Pipeline: Linking Applied STEM Course-Taking in High School to Declaring a STEM Major in College," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, pages 177-202.
    5. Bottia, Martha Cecilia & Stearns, Elizabeth & Mickelson, Roslyn Arlin & Moller, Stephanie & Valentino, Lauren, 2015. "Growing the roots of STEM majors: Female math and science high school faculty and the participation of students in STEM," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 14-27.
    6. David L. Sjoquist & John V. Winters, 2015. "State Merit-Based Financial Aid Programs And College Attainment," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(3), pages 364-390, June.
    7. Rask, Kevin, 2010. "Attrition in STEM fields at a liberal arts college: The importance of grades and pre-collegiate preferences," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 892-900, December.

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