Student Research Foundation’s 2017-2018 STEM Study Points Out the Barriers that Prevent Hispanic Students from Considering STEM Careers
It is not surprising that students who take more STEM classes in high school are more likely to want to prepare for STEM careers while they are in college.
It also comes as no surprise that students who take more STEM courses in high school are more likely to be admitted to competitive college programs in engineering, chemistry, mathematics and other technology fields.
However, the recent 2017-18 STEM Study conducted by the Student Research Foundation sheds some additional statistical light on the barriers that stand between many Hispanic high school students and STEM careers.
Overall, the study found that only 12% of all college graduates who earn STEM degrees are Hispanic-Americans, despite the fact that Hispanic-Americans make up 21% of the 18-24 year old population in the U.S.
That’s a significant disparity. Let’s examine some of the study’s findings in greater detail.
Hispanic Students Generally Take Fewer STEM Courses
The 2017-2018 STEM study found that only 42% of Hispanic students have taken seven STEM classes in high school, compared to 53% of students from all other groups.
Overall, Hispanic High School Students Are Less Confident in their STEM Abilities
The study found that only 26% of all Hispanic students (both male and female) feel “Highly Confident” about their STEM skills. Compare that to 35% of African-American students, 33% of Asian-American Students, and 31% of White students.
Hispanic Females Trail Hispanic Males in STEM Confidence
The study also found that only 22% of female Hispanic high school students express confidence about their abilities in STEM subjects, compared to 30% of male Hispanic students. And female Hispanic high school students lag behind non-Hispanic female students, 28% of whom say they are confident about their abilities in STEM.
What Must Change?
Statistics show that 26% of Hispanic high school seniors are likely to consider enrolling in community colleges, compared to 16% of non-Hispanic high school seniors.
So it follows logically that one way to increase the number of Hispanic-Americans who pursue STEM careers is to offer more STEM courses in community colleges.
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