Predictors of STEM Career Interest Among Middle School Students: Implications for Educational Reform, Policy, and Innovation
Abstract: Pre-post matched pairs data were collected from 499 males and 416 females in grades six and seven during 2015-2016 from 24 classrooms in nine US states. Fourteen cognitive and non-cognitive indicators of content knowledge, attitudes toward climate change, STEM and other learning dispositions were assessed for treatment versus comparison group gains and best predictors of increases in STEM career interest. Finding were that significantly (p < .05) greater treatment versus comparison groups gains were confirmed for several content and attitude measures, along with meaningful (RSQ = .32) ability to predict gains in STEM career interest from linear combinations of other cognitive and non-cognitive variables. Treatment impacts were found to be greater for females than for males. Implications of these middle school level measurable differences in career trajectories regarding needs for educational reform, policy, and innovation are discussed.
Presider: Alona Forkosh Baruch, Levinsky College of Education, Tel Aviv University