20 Jan Parents Can Encourage Children To Enter and Succeed in STEM Studies
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Janet Shibley Hyde
Helen Thompson Woolley Professor of
Psychology and Gender & Women’s Studies
Director, Center for Research on Gender & Women
University of Wisconsin
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: The background is that, in the U.S. and many other Western nations, we don’t have enough people going into STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). Innovations in STEM fields are enormously important in 21st century economies. So, we need to encourage more people to go into STEM fields. To do that, they have to major in a STEM field in college, and to do that, they need to prepare in high school.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: We conducted a randomized, controlled intervention with parents of high-school-aged children. We gave parents in the intervention group resources on the importance of math and science courses and how to communicate that to their adolescent. We found that adolescents in the intervention group went on to score higher on ACT math and science standardized tests and took nearly a semester more of math and science in high school. This greater STEM preparation in high school was then linked to greater STEM course-taking in college and greater aspirations for STEM careers.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Parents can be a great resource for encouraging adolescents to pursue more math and science in high school, thereby opening up many career options in STEM fields.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Response: We need to get interventions like this one into the schools so that they can reach more parents and students, and we need to evaluate the interventions carefully, to see whether and how they work.
MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.
Christopher S. Rozek, Ryan C. Svoboda, Judith M. Harackiewicz, Chris S. Hulleman, and Janet S. Hyde
Utility-value intervention with parents increases students’ STEM preparation and career pursuit PNAS 2017 ; published ahead of print January 17, 2017, doi:10.1073/pnas.1607386114
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