Beyond Representation: Adversity Experiences on STEM Motivation, Performance, and Persistence
Effective Years: 2021-2024
Understanding the impact of adversity experiences on STEM persistence and performance is significant to broaden participation of individuals from groups that have been traditionally underrepresented. Researchers at Georgia State University and Pennsylvania State University aim to study the effects of adversity experiences on student motivation to pursue STEM majors and student persistence and performance in STEM degree programs. The project aims to develop and use a model that predicts how different sources of adversity affect STEM motivation, persistence, and performance. This project aligns with the EHR Core Research program’s goal of addressing challenges in STEM interest, learning, and participation.
The longitudinal study will include surveys of 1000 first-time, first-year STEM majors enrolled in introductory Chemistry and Psychology courses at two large minority-serving and economically diverse public research institutions. The project aims to produce adversity profiles, derived from Latent Profile Analysis, that will guide investigations of links among adversity, motivation, and decisions to remain in STEM fields. The project seeks to identify patterns of adversity and determine which profiles have the strongest association with STEM persistence and achievement, examine how longitudinal patterns in motivation and performance operate as a function of adversity, and determine how adversity profiles and adversity levels change over time. Demographic differences and differences between STEM departments and universities will be examined. This project seeks to advance knowledge about adversity experiences’ impact on STEM motivation that may be used to develop interventions that target students whose STEM motivation and performance are inhibited by multidimensional adversity. The project is funded by the EHR Core Research program that supports fundamental research focused on STEM learning and learning environments, broadening participation in STEM, and STEM professional workforce development.
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.