Exploring Factors that Predict STEM Persistence at a Large, Public Research University

Mario I. Suárez, Alan R Dabney, Hersh C Waxman, Timothy P Scott, Adrienne O Bentz


The present study explores demographics, pre-college characteristics and multi-year (2003-2013) tracking of a census of 53,077 students who initially declared a STEM major upon entering a research university in Texas and seeks to predict graduation with a STEM and non-STEM degree. Guided by QuantCrit theory, we use multilevel models to determine factors that predicted persistence in any major and factors that predicted persistence in STEM, as well as use marginal effects to explore the intersection of ethnicity, sex, and first-generation status. Results highlight the disparity that exist amongst Black students and their White counterparts with regards to persistence in any major. We also highlight the gap between first-generation White and Black first-generation females and their Asian and International counterparts with regards to persistence in STEM. Implications for future research and practitioners suggest further attention needs to be paid to Black first-generation students.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/ijhe.v10n4p161


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International Journal of Higher Education
ISSN 1927-6044 (Print) ISSN 1927-6052 (Online) Email: ijhe@sciedupress.com

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