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Getting Past the Gateway: An Exploratory Case on Using Utilitarian Scientific Literacy to Support First-Year Students At-Risk of Leaving STEM

1
School of Education, Clark Atlanta University, 223 James P. Brawley Dr., Atlanta, GA 30314, USA
2
Morehouse College, 830 Westview Drive SW, Atlanta, GA 30314, USA
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Educ. Sci. 2019, 9(4), 265; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci9040265
Received: 30 August 2019 / Revised: 29 October 2019 / Accepted: 30 October 2019 / Published: 1 November 2019
First-year students who enter college pursuing a STEM degree still face challenges persisting through the STEM pipeline (Chen, 2013; Leu, 2017). In this case study, researchers examine the impact of a utilitarian scientific literacy based academic intervention on retention of first-year students in STEM using a mixed methods approach. A sample (n = 116) of first-year students identified as at-risk of not persisting in STEM were enrolled in a for credit utilitarian scientific literacy course. Participants of the semester long course were then compared with a control group of first-year students identified as at-risk of persisting in STEM. A two-proportion z test was performed to assess the mean differences between students and participants of the course were given a survey to gauge student experiences. Quantitative results (φ 0.34, p < 0.05) indicate that the utilitarian scientific literacy course had a statistically significant impact on retention among first-year students at-risk of persisting in STEM. Moreover, qualitative data obtained from participant responses describe internal and external growth as positive outcomes associated with the intervention. View Full-Text
Keywords: scientific literacy; STEM; first-year students; retention; minority; academic intervention scientific literacy; STEM; first-year students; retention; minority; academic intervention
MDPI and ACS Style

Chambers, B.; Salter, A.; Muldrow, L. Getting Past the Gateway: An Exploratory Case on Using Utilitarian Scientific Literacy to Support First-Year Students At-Risk of Leaving STEM. Educ. Sci. 2019, 9, 265.

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