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Science Education

"Utility-Value Intervention With Parents Increases Students' STEM Preparation and Career Pursuit"

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When parents of high school students are given guidance on how to talk about the importance of science and math, their children are more likely to score well on a STEM standardized test and, years later, pursue a STEM career, finds a study from the University of Virginia and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

In the study, published in the January Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, parents of 180 11th and 12th graders in Wisconsin were randomly assigned to either no intervention, or to receive two brochures and a link to a website explaining how math and science are useful in everyday life and careers and encouraging them to share the information with their children.

Five years later, researchers found that students—now on average 20 years old—whose parents received the STEM brochures scored a statistically significant 12 percentile points higher on the math and science portions of the ACT than their peers in the control group. They also reported taking more STEM courses in college and were more likely to have career aspirations in STEM.

Vol. 36, Issue 25, Page 5

Published in Print: March 22, 2017, as Science Education
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