Skip to comments.How introductory courses deter minority students from STEM degrees
Posted on 09/28/2022 5:33:33 AM PDT by devane617
A new paper in PNAS Nexus, published by Oxford University Press, indicates that minority students who earn low grades in introductory science, technology, engineering, and math classes are less likely to earn degrees in these subjects than similar white students.
There is a persistent disparity in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education outcomes in the United States. In 2018, women earned 58% of bachelor's degrees, but only 36% of STEM bachelor's degrees. In 2017, Black, Hispanic, and Indigenous people comprised 30% of the U.S. population, and 34% of STEM-intending incoming college students, yet they earned only 18% of actual undergraduate STEM degrees. This has implications for the diversity of STEM professions as well as for the range of research and innovation in such fields.
Students interested in such subjects typically take introductory courses like calculus or general chemistry during their first semester. Colleges may offer such courses in part with the goal of sending a message to students who receive low grades that they should pursue other fields of study. Previous research has established an association between low performance in these courses and a decreased probability of obtaining a STEM degree. However, this association may not be neutral regarding gender and race. Being assigned a low grade in introductory STEM courses might have a greater negative impact on women and racial/ethnic minorities.
Researchers examined records from 109,070 students from six large, public, research-intensive universities between 2005 and 2012, to assess whether low grades in these introductory courses disproportionately impact underrepresented minority students. The investigators studied the records of student performance in introductory courses in physical sciences, life sciences, mathematical and computational sciences, and engineering to discern the likelihood of students earning degrees in these subjects.
(Excerpt) Read more at phys.org ...
The Bell Curve is a pesky thing.
Always looking for excuses.
Math be racist
The intro course is a tough comprehensive overview.
weeds out the chaff who cannot hack the upper level courses
So, if we just automatically give high grades to women and minorities, even if they don’t deserve it, this will increase their chances of getting a STEM degree?
Evidently the goal is that every cross-sectional identity group have the exact same representation in all aspects of life or it is proof that straight, white males are bad.
Sounds like the solution they are proposing is to allow minority and women students to progress directly to advanced courses without those pesky introductory courses.
Notice again, glaringly, no mention of YELLOW people. (”Asian”, whatever.)
LOTs of yellow and Indian people in STEM - how are they doing?
Wouldn’t want to mention that some “minorities” do very well, better than whites, despite evil whitey rigging everything.
So, maybe, minority students should get to skip the intro courses. Then they get to fail at the higher level.
So, are they saying that grading standards should be different for different races? Sounds like another left wing racist practice - they are stating publically that they do not think that certain races can hack it.
Sorry, I’ve taught STEM subjects at undergrad and grad level and folks of all backgrounds have done well.
I too noticed the glaring absence ...
I’m not ashamed to admit I dropped several majors in college due to these “weed out” courses. The professors are very blunt about expectations. Unless you’re dedicated to the study, you’re likely to fail.
The problem I saw 20+ years ago is now exacerbated by sloth and apathy. They want to just skate through college and take that piece of paper to get into some big corporation where they’ll be set for life. Problem is that reality is a cruel mistress. While some majors are “skate-able,” others should be intentionally difficult. Only the most studious will pass.
But sadly, we’re just handing out degrees, and we’re hiring sub-par workers. I’ve seen it myself, and it’s getting worse.
Many, many moons ago I took college level introductory calculus, chemistry, physics courses in high school.
High schools don’t offer those any more...?
If a student gets a low grade in an introductory STEM course, there’s a really good chance that the student has no business in a STEM curriculum in the first place.
What’s interesting is this crap only goes one way. No one is looking for areas where white males are underrepresented and trying desperately to increase white male participation. If only 30% of stem degrees are going to women, it only follows that women are WAY over represented in other degree programs, like sociology. Where’s the concern about “equity” there?
Poor performance in introductory math and science courses suggests one may not be suited for a math or science career, therefore, racism. Do I have this right?
We used to call those weed out courses.
If a student couldn’t do the basics, they won’t do any better in the upper level courses.
“Being assigned a low grade”
There is that word again.
Granted, it is more subjective than what genitalia you have (or gene), but it isn’t just to flunk the colored people (minus yellow).
Time to repeal the laws of physics.
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