Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Identifier

30

Author

Fang Yang

Date

2010

Date of Award

4-19-2010

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Psychology

Concentration

Experimental Psychology

Committee Chair

William Dwyer

Committee Member

David Houston

Committee Member

Xiangen Hu

Committee Member

Leslie Robinson

Abstract

There is an increasing concern about the labor shortage in the area of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) in the workforce in U.S. The present study examined the issue by looking at the career interest development during adolescence. The study investigated how gender, race and academic performance are related to the early STEM career interests, the nature of the changes of these career interests, and how gender, race and academic performance accounted for these career interest changes.Archival assessment data of more than three thousand students from the Memphis City Schools were used in the study. The data contained students’ academic performance scores and career interest rating scores when they were 8th graders and then 10th graders. The results of the study showed that gender, race and academic performance were all related to STEM career interests. However, no interaction effects were found among the three factors on STEM career interests. Furthermore, from grade 8 to grade 10, students experienced dramatic increases in the career interest of Technical, but didn’t experience significant change in the career interest of Science and Technology. On the other hand, even though students did not show a significant change in the career dimension of Science and Technology, students who improved their academic performance in Science did exhibit a significant rating score increase in the career dimension of Science and Technology. Finally, for those students who improved their academic performance in Math, only males exhibited a significant increase in the career interests of both Technical and Science/Technology; and when students improved their academic performance in Science, only males exhibited a significant increase in career interest of Technical.

Comments

Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.

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