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Persistence in Science of High-Ability Minority Students, Phase V: Comprehensive Data Analysis SAT

Grandy, Jerilee E.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Career Choice, College Students, Engineering, Gifted, Majors (Students), Mathematics, Minority Students, Persistence, Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), Science


Concern over the underrepresentation of minorities in mathematics, science, and engineering led to this longitudinal study begun by Thomas Hilton in 1986 under a grant from the National Science Foundation. The purpose of the study was to investigate why some high- ability minority students follow through with their plans to become scientists or engineers, while others with the same plans do not. Data came from three sources: (1) 1985 SAT files of a sample of minority students planning to major in math, science, and engineering and scoring above 550 on the SAT mathematics test, (2) a detailed survey questionnaire completed in 1987, and (3) a status survey in 1990. Hilton reported results of the first four phases of the project, including multiple regression analyses. This report of Phase V describes the results of causal modeling using LISREL to determine the direct and indirect effects of gender, SES, high school variables, and college variables on student status five years after high school. Most important to persistence in science and engineering were the type of college attended (2-year or 4-year), minority support systems early in college, and commitment to science or engineering by the sophomore year. The role of other variables and their effects on commitment and persistence are discussed in technical detail. Important gender differences are also discussed. The report concludes with a list of practical recommendations for counselors and heads of intervention programs both at the high school and college levels. (125pp.)

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