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Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering
SJR: 0.468 SNIP: 0.905 CiteScore™: 1.65

ISSN Imprimir: 1072-8325
ISSN En Línea: 1940-431X

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Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering

DOI: 10.1615/JWomenMinorScienEng.2013004825
pages 47-66

CAREER CERTAINTY AND PERSISTING INTEREST IN STEM: AN ANALYSIS OF UNDERREPRESENTED GROUPS

Jeffry L. White
University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Lafayette, Louisiana 70503
Sidney K. Mitchell
University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Lafayette, Louisiana 70503

SINOPSIS

Increased enrollment has not resulted in more degrees earned by women, minorities, or students with disabilities in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM). Although there are numerous reasons, many students drop out or change majors due to a loss of interest in their field. This study focuses on the role that career certainty has on the persistence of interest in STEM. A criterion-group approach employing quasi-experimental survey research methods is used with randomly (n = 608) and non-randomly (n = 123) selected underrepresented student groups participating in two National Science Foundation collaborations. The psychometric attributes of the instrument created for the study are inspected using principle components analysis and Cronbach's measure of internal consistency. Although an analysis of covariance did not find covariation in career certainty, significant interactions were detected among the three groups of students. A discussion of the results of the 6-year study and conclusions are presented along with implications for research, policy, and practice for those interested in the retention of underrepresented student groups in STEM.


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