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Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering
SJR: 0.468 SNIP: 0.671 CiteScore™: 1.65

ISSN Druckformat: 1072-8325
ISSN Online: 1940-431X

Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering

DOI: 10.1615/JWomenMinorScienEng.v14.i3.30
pages 269-300

SEX, CLASS, AND PHYSICAL SCIENCE EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT: PORTIONS DUE TO ACHIEVEMENT VERSUS RECRUITMENT

Richard M. Simon
Department of Sociology, The Pennsylvania State University
George Farkas
Department of Education, University of California, Irvine

ABSTRAKT

Nationally representative data from the National Education Longitudinal Study are used to investigate why males (rather than females) and children of parents with advanced degrees (rather than those from less-educated parents) are more highly represented among physical science bachelor's degrees and graduate students. Parental education is measured by three categories: neither parent has a bachelor's degree, at least one parent has a bachelor's degree, or at least one parent has a degree beyond the bachelor's. Physical science is defined as students majoring in physics, engineering, mathematics, or computer science. The effects of mathematics achievement and effects not accounted for by mathematics achievement (what the authors call "recruitment" effects) are isolated for parental education categories and for sex, allowing inequality in physical science degree attainment to be decomposed into portions due to achievement and portions due to recruitment. Additionally, the results from logistic regressions predicting the attainment of a bachelor's degree in physical science as well as the pursuit of a graduate degree in physical science are presented. It is found that for parental education categories, the gaps in physical science educational attainment are nearly entirely accounted for by differences in mathematics achievement, suggesting that if achievement could be equalized, physical science educational attainment differences among parental education categories would disappear. However, the sex gap in physical science educational attainment operates almost entirely independent of achievement effects, suggesting that if the mathematics achievement distributions of males and females were identical, the sex gap in physical science educational attainment would be unchanged from what it is today.


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