Discipline: Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences
Subcategory: Social Sciences/Psychology/Economics
Room: Exhibit Hall A
Ayanna Candi - Tennessee State University
Statement of Problem: Although African Americans begin college sharing the same interest in STEM as other ethnicities, they don’t persist at the same rates (Anderson & Kim, 2006). African American women are more likely to be filtered out of STEM careers partly because they are leaving STEM majors at higher rates while in college (Fouad et al., 2010). Self-efficacy is referred to as one’s ability to perform a task in order to obtain a specific goal. According to Social-Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT) self-efficacy and outcome expectations are formed through a combination of personal variables, including SES, gender, and early interactions. SCCT therefore suggests that personal variables may play a role in African American women having lower persistence in STEM majors compared to other groups. Parental education is one of those personal variables. SES impacts an individual’s educational opportunity, and the social support from parents is needed when considering the outcomes of career development (Ali, McWhirter, & Chronister and Moakler and Kim 2005). In other studies, examining personal variables in the context of SCCT, parental education has been combined with socioeconomic status (Ali, McWhirter, & Chronister, 2005; McWhirter et al., 1998), in the present study it is separate to explore if parental education individually has a relationship with intent to pursue STEM in this population (Ali & Saunders, 2006, p. 41). The purpose of this study is to examine the relation between mother’s level of education, socioeconomic status, and a student’s intent to persist in the STEM field. Methods and controls: Data was collected as part of a longitudinal, quasi-experimental, pretest/posttest control group design study with students from a southeastern mid-size HBCU. Maternal Education was assessed using one item: “What is your mother’s (or mother figure’s) educational level?” Socio-economic Status was assessed using one item: “What do you consider to be your family’s social economic status?” The Goals Measure assessed the individual’s intent to persist in STEM (Lent et al., 2003; Lent et al., 2005; Lent et al., 2007; Lent et al., 2010; Lent et al., 2013; Lent et al., 2015). For this study a regression analysis was planned to model the relationship between maternal education, socioeconomic status and intent to persist in STEM. Results and discussion of findings: Due to assumptions violations two Kruskal-Wallis tests were conducted. A Kruskal-Wallis H test showed that they were approaching a statistically significant difference between perceived family socioeconomic status χ2(4)=9.182, P=.057 with a mean rank persistence score of 227.0 for upper class, 229.81 for upper middle class, 229.86 for middle class, 227.00 for lower middle class, and 243.96 for lower class. A Kruskal-Wallis H test showed that there was not a statistically significant difference between mothers education level χ2(6) =1.770, P=.940 with a mean rank educational level of 154.00 for some high school, 156.76 for high school graduate, 154.00 for post high school vocational training, 156.27 for some college, 158.23 for associates degree, 156.24 for bachelors degree, and 154.00 for post-graduate degree. Conclusion and future research: The findings show that there was no statistical significance between ones perceived socioeconomic status, mothers education level, and a student’s intent to persist in STEM. For future research, looking to see how socioeconomic status, and self-efficacy, affects a student’s decision to continue in the STEM field would be interesting.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): This study was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation (HBCU-UP/BPR 1238778 & 1623145), awarded to Marie S. Hammond, Ph.D., Professor, Tennessee State University, Nashville, TN 37209.
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Marie Hammond, firstname.lastname@example.org
Role: I entered data, as well as ran multiple Kruskal Wallis H tests for the data analysis.