Research: Parents Key in Guiding Students to STEM Careers

By Erik W. Robelen — February 22, 2010 1 min read
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New research from Michigan State University suggests that parental influence and access to math courses are likely to guide students to careers in the STEM fields and medicine, says an article in ScienceDaily.

The article draws on information presented this weekend at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

“Only 4 percent of students who experienced low parent encouragement to attend college planned to enter a postsecondary program and major in a STEMM field,” said Jon Miller, a professor of integrative studies at Michigan State who presented the findings at the meeting. (Editor’s note: The extra “M” in STEMM is for medicine.) Miller adds: “This compares to 41 percent of students whose parents strongly encouraged college attendance.”

The research also reinforces the role of math instruction in pursuing a career in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, or medicine, the article says.

“Mathematics is a primary gateway to a STEMM career,” Miller is quoted as saying, “beginning with algebra-track placement in grades 7 and 8, and continuing through high school and college calculus courses.”

A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.