IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/ecoedu/v29y2010i6p892-900.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Attrition in STEM fields at a liberal arts college: The importance of grades and pre-collegiate preferences

Author

Listed:
  • Rask, Kevin

Abstract

There is widespread concern, both in the private and public sectors, about perceived declines in U.S. college graduates in STEM fields. In our sample, the proportion of science majors has remained steady over the sample period; however, the number entering our college intending to major in STEM fields has fallen. In this paper we use administrative data from the graduating classes of 2001-2009, roughly 5000 graduates, from a northeastern liberal arts college to model the progression of students through STEM majors. The results suggest that absolute and sometimes relative grades are important, as is the intended major (as reported on the admissions application). AP credits are also strongly correlated to taking a first course, but diminish in the more selected samples. Simulations suggest that if science grade distributions were more like the college average, there would be roughly 2-4% more students progressing in STEM departments.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:29:y:2010:i:6:p:892-900
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0272-7757(10)00078-6
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Montmarquette, Claude & Cannings, Kathy & Mahseredjian, Sophie, 2002. "How do young people choose college majors?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(6), pages 543-556, December.
    2. Ann L. Owen & Elizabeth J. Jensen, 2000. "Why Are Women Such Reluctant Economists? Evidence from Liberal Arts Colleges," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 466-470, May.
    3. Tomz, Michael & Wittenberg, Jason & King, Gary, 2003. "Clarify: Software for Interpreting and Presenting Statistical Results," Journal of Statistical Software, Foundation for Open Access Statistics, vol. 8(i01).
    4. Eide, Eric & Waehrer, Geetha, 1998. "The Role of the Option Value of College Attendance in College Major Choice," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 73-82, February.
    5. 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.
    6. Richard Sabot & John Wakeman-Linn, 1991. "Grade Inflation and Course Choice," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 159-170, Winter.
    7. Brandice J. Canes & Harvey S. Rosen, 1994. "Following in Her Footsteps? Women's Choices of College Majors and Faculty Gender Composition," NBER Working Papers 4874, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Robst, John & Keil, Jack & Russo, Dean, 1998. "The effect of gender composition of faculty on student retention," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 17(4), pages 429-439, October.
    9. Rask, Kevin & Tiefenthaler, Jill, 2008. "The role of grade sensitivity in explaining the gender imbalance in undergraduate economics," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(6), pages 676-687, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Berlingieri, Francesco & Zierahn, Ulrich, 2014. "Field of study, qualification mismatch, and wages: Does sorting matter?," ZEW Discussion Papers 14-076, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    3. 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.
    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, vol. 11(2), pages 177-202, Spring.
    5. Abdulmumini Baba Alfa & Abdulmumini Baba Alfa & Mohd Zaini Abd Karim, 2016. "Student Enthusiasm as a Key Determinant of their Performance," International Review of Management and Marketing, Econjournals, vol. 6(2), pages 237-245.
    6. Zhaoyi Cao & Tim Maloney, 2017. "Decomposing Ethnic Differences in University Acedemic Achievement in New Zealand," Working Papers 2017-02 Classification-I2, Auckland University of Technology, Department of Economics.
    7. repec:gam:jscscx:v:6:y:2017:i:2:p:47-:d:98161 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. David Sjoquist & John Winters, 2015. "The effect of Georgia’s HOPE scholarship on college major: a focus on STEM," IZA Journal of Labor Economics, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 4(1), pages 1-29, December.
    9. Shulamit Kahn & Donna Ginther, 2017. "Women and STEM," NBER Working Papers 23525, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Hill, Andrew J., 2017. "State affirmative action bans and STEM degree completions," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 31-40.
    11. 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.
    12. 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.
    13. Ehrenberg, Ronald G., 2010. "Analyzing the factors that influence persistence rates in STEM field, majors: Introduction to the symposium," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 888-891, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Major choice STEM;

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:29:y:2010:i:6:p:892-900. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/econedurev .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.