NCBI Bookshelf. A service of the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.

Cover of Barriers and Opportunities for 2-Year and 4-Year STEM Degrees

Barriers and Opportunities for 2-Year and 4-Year STEM Degrees

Systemic Change to Support Students' Diverse Pathways

Editors: Shirley Malcom and Michael Feder. Authors: ; ; ; ; ; ; .

Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); .
ISBN-13: 978-0-309-37357-9ISBN-10: 0-309-37357-3

Nearly 40 percent of the students entering 2- and 4-year postsecondary institutions indicated their intention to major in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in 2012. But the barriers to students realizing their ambitions are reflected in the fact that about half of those with the intention to earn a STEM bachelor’s degree and more than two-thirds intending to earn a STEM associate's degree fail to earn these degrees 4 to 6 years after their initial enrollment. Many of those who do obtain a degree take longer than the advertised length of the programs, thus raising the cost of their education. Are the STEM educational pathways any less efficient than for other fields of study? How might the losses be “stemmed” and greater efficiencies realized? These questions and others are at the heart of this study.

Barriers and Opportunities for 2-Year and 4-Year STEM Degrees reviews research on the roles that people, processes, and institutions play in 2-and 4-year STEM degree production. This study pays special attention to the factors that influence students' decisions to enter, stay in, or leave STEM majors–quality of instruction, grading policies, course sequences, undergraduate learning environments, student supports, co-curricular activities, students' general academic preparedness and competence in science, family background, and governmental and institutional policies that affect STEM educational pathways.

Because many students do not take the traditional 4-year path to a STEM undergraduate degree, Barriers and Opportunities describes several other common pathways and also reviews what happens to those who do not complete the journey to a degree. This book describes the major changes in student demographics; how students, view, value, and utilize programs of higher education; and how institutions can adapt to support successful student outcomes. In doing so, Barriers and Opportunities questions whether definitions and characteristics of what constitutes success in STEM should change. As this book explores these issues, it identifies where further research is needed to build a system that works for all students who aspire to STEM degrees. The conclusions of this report lay out the steps that faculty, STEM departments, colleges and universities, professional societies, and others can take to improve STEM education for all students interested in a STEM degree.

Contents

This study was supported by Contract No. HRD-1244829 from the National Science Foundation, Contract No. B2012-30 from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and an unnumbered contract from S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, with additional support from the National Academy of Sciences Kellogg Fund. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization or agency that provided support for the project.

Suggested citation:

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. (2016). Barriers and Opportunities for 2-Year and 4-Year STEM Degrees: Systemic Change to Support Diverse Student Pathways. Committee on Barriers and Opportunities in Completing 2-Year and 4-Year STEM Degrees. S. Malcom and M. Feder, Editors. Board on Science Education, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Board on Higher Education and the Workforce, Policy and Global Affairs. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21739.

Copyright 2016 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Bookshelf ID: NBK368179PMID: 27336114DOI: 10.17226/21739

Views

  • PubReader
  • Print View
  • Cite this Page
  • PDF version of this title (1.2M)

Related information

Similar articles in PubMed

See reviews...See all...

Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...