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An Analysis of the High Attrition Rates among First Year College Science, Math and Engineering Majors.

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Increases in attrition rates among science, mathematics, and engineering (SME) majors have produced a variety of deleterious effects for society. This paper attempts to clarify and interpret the interaction of those characteristics of the structure and culture of undergraduate SME programs that perpetuate high loss rates among their first-year college majors by looking at a number of studies of SME programs and undergraduate attrition. The interaction of instructional factors, differing high school and faculty expectations for entering SME undergraduates, and epistemological considerations was found to contribute to a higher dissatisfaction among SME majors as compared with non-SME major and to resulting student attrition. Significant support was not seen for the contribution of commonly cited explanations of SME attrition such as cognitive factors and large class sizes. (Contains 19 references.) (Author/SLD)

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Author:Daempfle, Peter A.
Publication:ERIC: Reports
Date:Jan 1, 2002
Words:200
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