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Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering
SJR: 0.468 SNIP: 0.671 CiteScore™: 1.65

ISSN Print: 1072-8325
ISSN Online: 1940-431X

Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering

DOI: 10.1615/JWomenMinorScienEng.2017015905
pages 73-86

CONNECTING TEACHER PERCEPTIONS TO STEM OCCUPATIONAL GOALS IN LOWINCOME ADOLESCENTS OF COLOR

Karen Moran Jackson
Institute for Urban Policy Research and Analysis, The University of Texas at Austin; Department of Educational Psychology, The University of Texas at Austin
Marie-Anne Suizzo
Department of Educational Psychology, The University of Texas at Austin
Kristin Emilia Harvey
Department of Educational Psychology, The University of Texas at Austin; Department of Statistics and Data Science, The University of Texas at Austin

ABSTRACT

Men of color are under-represented and women of color are unevenly represented within science careers (National Science Foundation, 2015). Career development models suggest that this underrepresentation can be traced back to opportunities encountered and support given during adolescence. This studyexamined science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) related occupational goals of young adolescents of color from low-income schools and the unique contributions of teacher support to these goals. Two-hundred eighteen sixth-grade students from low-income schools answered a survey on academic beliefs and demographics, as well as wrote about their anticipated careers. Additionally, thirteen math and science teachers reported their perceptions of the students while the school district provided student grades. Thirty-one percent of students specifically listed doctor or -veterinarian occupational goals while less than 7% listed a specific career in science, engineering, or technology. According to logistic regression analysis, males were less likely to have STEM career goals compared to their female peers and students who were positively viewed by their teachers were more likely to have STEM career goals, controlling for grades and math self-efficacy. Young adolescents of color demonstrate a high level of interest in certain types of STEM careers, yet gender differences and the role of teacher perceptions have implications for placement in math and science classes as well as future career pathways to increase diversity.


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