- Year 2019
- NSF Noyce Award # 1439896
- First Name Mary
- Last Name Urquhart
- Discipline Biology, Chemistry, Geosciences, Math, Physics
Mary Urquhart, The University of Texas at Dallas, email@example.com
(a) Retaining undergraduate students in our universities and as STEM majors is important for any UTeach program. (b) Of particular concern are high performing STEM majors (who serve as our recruiting pool for STEM teaching) who may change majors or leave the university when they encounter academic difficulties. (c) This is both university-specific work and potentially relevant on the topic of mindset where most work has been done at the K-12 level.
One goal of the UTeach Dallas Noyce program is to determine if fixed mindset, may be a cause of loss of STEM majors from the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics (NSM) at the University of Texas at Dallas. Of particular concern for this study are students who may encounter their first academic difficulties in their NSM courses at the university and thus be at risk for losing self-identification as a STEM capable student.
We created and deployed an Academic Attitudes of Undergraduates survey for the mandatory NSM freshmen seminar class.
(a) In fall 2017, 341 out of ~700 freshmen completed the entire survey in fall 2017. Our main findings are that survey respondents are primarily of an undetermined mindset. However, we did find skews towards fixed mindset in some sub-populations, including self-identified pre-service teachers. (b) The study results are the key deliverables to date. (c) Further analysis including of the 2018 data set, continued deployment of the survey, refinement of the instrument, and potential expansion of the work beyond the school of NSM.
(a) This work is intented to inform instructors within the school of NSM to assist in retention of science and mathematics majors, including pre-service STEM teachers. (b) This work is preliminary, but may be applicable to a broader population beyond one school and one year. Further study is needed. (c) Our next steps are to continue to the work, focus more heavily on the pre-service teacher population, and to seek funding for a mixed methods approach.