Personalities and Pipelines: Exploring the Role of Personality in Student Self-selection Into Stem Majors

Description:

Despite all the national efforts to increase STEM enrollment in the United States, the gap between the U.S. and other developed countries in terms of STEM graduates has widened over the last 20 years. Researchers have studied factors such as gender, race, high school GPA, and the student’s socioeconomic status for their impact on STEM enrollment. This study offers another possible explanation of why students might choose, or not choose, to enroll in STEM majors by examining the relationship between personality and STEM enrollment. the sample included 2,745 respondents to the 2008 Cooperative Institutional Research Program freshman survey at a large research university in the southwestern United States. Factor analysis was used to create four personality scales, based on John Holland’s theory of personality types, with items selected from the survey. Logistic regression was utilized to answer three research questions: Are students classified as a strong investigative personality type more likely to enroll in STEM majors than students classified as a weak investigative personality type? Are there differences in their likelihood to enroll in STEM majors among students of investigative-social, investigative-artistic, and investigative-enterprising personality types? What effect does personality have on students’ self-selection into a biological versus a physical STEM major? Results suggested that students with a combined investigative and social personality were more likely to enroll in STEM majors whereas students with a combined investigative and artistic personality were less likely to do so. Additionally, STEM students with an enterprising personality were more likely to choose a biological STEM major than a physical STEM major. These results should benefit educators and policy makers who seek to strengthen the pipeline into STEM fields.

Creator(s): Simpson, Patricia
Creation Date: May 2012
Partner(s):
UNT Libraries
Collection(s):
UNT Theses and Dissertations
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Total Uses: 189
Past 30 days: 12
Yesterday: 0
Creator (Author):
Publisher Info:
Publisher Name: University of North Texas
Publisher Info: www.unt.edu
Place of Publication: Denton, Texas
Date(s):
  • Creation: May 2012
Description:

Despite all the national efforts to increase STEM enrollment in the United States, the gap between the U.S. and other developed countries in terms of STEM graduates has widened over the last 20 years. Researchers have studied factors such as gender, race, high school GPA, and the student’s socioeconomic status for their impact on STEM enrollment. This study offers another possible explanation of why students might choose, or not choose, to enroll in STEM majors by examining the relationship between personality and STEM enrollment. the sample included 2,745 respondents to the 2008 Cooperative Institutional Research Program freshman survey at a large research university in the southwestern United States. Factor analysis was used to create four personality scales, based on John Holland’s theory of personality types, with items selected from the survey. Logistic regression was utilized to answer three research questions: Are students classified as a strong investigative personality type more likely to enroll in STEM majors than students classified as a weak investigative personality type? Are there differences in their likelihood to enroll in STEM majors among students of investigative-social, investigative-artistic, and investigative-enterprising personality types? What effect does personality have on students’ self-selection into a biological versus a physical STEM major? Results suggested that students with a combined investigative and social personality were more likely to enroll in STEM majors whereas students with a combined investigative and artistic personality were less likely to do so. Additionally, STEM students with an enterprising personality were more likely to choose a biological STEM major than a physical STEM major. These results should benefit educators and policy makers who seek to strengthen the pipeline into STEM fields.

Degree:
Discipline: Higher Education
Level: Doctoral
PublicationType: Disse
Language(s):
Subject(s):
Keyword(s): Personality | STEM education | major choice
Contributor(s):
Partner:
UNT Libraries
Collection:
UNT Theses and Dissertations
Identifier:
  • ARK: ark:/67531/metadc115158
Resource Type: Thesis or Dissertation
Format: Text
Rights:
Access: Public
Holder: Simpson, Patricia
License: Copyright
Statement: Copyright is held by the author, unless otherwise noted. All rights Reserved.