Riegle-Crumb, C., Moore, C., & Ramos-Wada, A. (2011). Who wants to have a career in science or math? Exploring adolescents’ future aspirations by gender and race/ethnicity. Science Education, 95(3), 458-476.
- The study's objective was to examine whether different gender and racial/ethnic subgroups of 8th-grade students in the United States varied in their aspirations of pursuing a career in science or math. The study further sought to observe how students’ attitudes toward and achievement in science and math helped explain any disparities in career aspirations by gender and race/ethnicity.
- The authors conducted a regression analysis that estimated the likelihood of different gender and race/ethnicity subgroups stating that they “would like a job that involves using science/math,” controlling for their attitudes toward and achievement in science/math. Career aspirations for groups traditionally underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—including white, black, and Hispanic girls and black and Hispanic boys—were compared to those of white boys. The study used data from the 2003 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, specifically looking at a nationally representative sample of 8th-grade students in the United States.
- In the primary analysis of science aspirations, no female and/or racial minorities had a statistically different likelihood of aspiring to a career in science than white boys. Black boys had comparable career aspirations to white boys even before controlling for any other factors, and Hispanic and white boys were similar after controlling for socioeconomic factors. Both white and Hispanic girls had similar career aspirations to white boys after controlling for enjoyment of science.
- In the primary analysis of math aspirations, all female subgroups were significantly less likely to aspire to a math career than white boys, even after controlling for general school attitudes, test scores, enjoyment in the subject, and belief in their own math ability. Black and Hispanic boys were as likely as white boys to be interested in pursuing a career in math before controlling for any of those factors.
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