High schools with a greater menu of science, technology, engineering, and math classes did not produce students more likely to declare a STEM major in college—or to earn a degree in a STEM subject—than their peers,
A working paper at the National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research, or CALDER, analyzed records of more than 140,000 students entering Missouri’s four-year public university system, and connected them back to the high schools those students attended. Researchers found for every one-unit increase in courses available per student, high school students’ cumulative coursetaking in STEM barely budged. What’s more, students with more access to STEM classes in high school were not more likely to declare a major in a STEM field or earn a degree in one.
The data also did not show any particular impact for more STEM courses within high schools with large numbers of students of color, which tend to lack access to more rigorous coursework generally.
A version of this article appeared in the March 21, 2018 edition of Education Week as Stem Education