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Associations between predictive indicators and postsecondary science, technology, engineering, and math success among Hispanic students in Texas

This study sought to identify factors that predict positive STEM-related postsecondary outcomes for students in Texas, and to determine whether the association between predictive factors and outcomes differs between Hispanic and non-Hispanic White students. The research team linked K–12 student academic data to college enrollment data for Texas public high school students who enrolled in colleges and universities in Texas during a period from the 2004/05 to the 2010/11 school years (seven cohorts). Regression models examined relationships between possible indicators (e.g., number and level of math or science classes completed) with the outcomes of interest (declaring a STEM major, persisting in a STEM major, and completing a STEM degree), while controlling for nonmalleable student and school factors as well as for cohort fixed effects. Interaction terms added to the models provided a separate estimate, for Hispanic, Black, non-Hispanic White, and Other ethnicity students, of the association of each indicator with each postsecondary outcome. Measures of academic experiences and performance in math and science during high school were strongly associated with postsecondary STEM outcomes. These associations were generally consistent for Hispanic and non-Hispanic White students. Statistically significant indicators of positive postsecondary STEM outcomes included number of math and science courses completed, number of Advanced Placement courses taken, highest-level math or science course taken, and state assessment scores. This study demonstrates that Hispanic students reap the same benefits of taking higher-level math and science courses in high school as do non-Hispanic White students. Future studies should consider possible factors influencing the academic experiences of Hispanic students in high school science and math, such as access to rigorous courses.
Publication Type:
Making Connections
Online Availability:
Publication Date:
November 2017