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A Review of the Literature to Identify Leading Indicators Related to Hispanic STEM Postsecondary Educational Outcomes

Region:
Southwest
Description:

The purpose of this study was to review recent peer-reviewed studies in order to identify malleable factors measured in K&ndash12 settings that are related to students' postsecondary STEM success, particularly for Hispanic students. Postsecondary STEM success was defined as enrollment in, persistence in, and completion of postsecondary STEM majors or degrees. Twenty-three relevant studies were identified, yet only 4 examined K&ndash12 factors predictive of postsecondary STEM success specifically for Hispanic students. The review found that the number of high school mathematics and science courses taken, and the level of those courses is a consistent predictor of postsecondary STEM outcomes for all student subgroups. However, the literature indicates that minority students, including Hispanics, were less likely to take the highest-level mathematics and science courses. Students' interest and confidence in STEM at the K&ndash12 levels was also predictive of postsecondary STEM success. Yet, despite lower levels of postsecondary STEM success, some studies indicate racial/ethnic minority and White students had similar levels of interest and confidence in STEM. The reviewed research suggests that reducing disparities in mathematics and science preparation between Hispanic and White students and increasing the rates at which Hispanic students take high-level mathematics and science classes has promise for informing interventions designed to improve STEM outcomes.

This "Stated Briefly" report is a companion piece that summarizes the results of another report of the same name. The purpose of this study was to review recent peer-reviewed studies in order to identify malleable factors measured in K&ndash12 settings that are related to students' postsecondary STEM success, particularly for Hispanic students. Postsecondary STEM success was defined as enrollment in, persistence in, and completion of postsecondary STEM majors or degrees. Twenty-three relevant studies were identified, yet only 4 examined K&ndash12 factors predictive of postsecondary STEM success specifically for Hispanic students. The review found that the number of high school mathematics and science courses taken, and the level of those courses is a consistent predictor of postsecondary STEM outcomes for all student subgroups. However, the literature indicates that minority students, including Hispanics, were less likely to take the highest-level mathematics and science courses. Students' interest and confidence in STEM at the K&ndash12 levels was also predictive of postsecondary STEM success. Yet, despite lower levels of postsecondary STEM success, some studies indicate racial/ethnic minority and White students had similar levels of interest and confidence in STEM. The reviewed research suggests that reducing disparities in mathematics and science preparation between Hispanic and White students and increasing the rates at which Hispanic students take high-level mathematics and science classes has promise for informing interventions designed to improve STEM outcomes.

Publication Type:
What's Known
Online Availability:
Publication Date:
April 2016