Date of Award
Open Access Dissertation
Motivation to study mathematics and science is an important influencing factor of career aspirations in STEM fields which predicts STEM major choice in college and STEM careers after graduation. Using restricted data from a nationally representative sample HSLS:09, the current study identified U.S. high school students’ motivation profiles in mathematics and science courses in 9th and 11th grade, examined the stability of these profiles across the two time points, and studied the association between 11th grade motivation profiles and STEM career aspirations. Differences between male and female students in motivation profiles, profile stability and career aspirations were examined. The stability of STEM career aspirations between 9th grade and 11th grade and the consistency between 11th grade STEM career aspirations and STEM major choice in college were also investigated. Latent profile analysis revealed four distinct motivation profiles at both time points. Latent transition analysis found substantial stability in profiles: participants were most likely to stay in their original profiles than transition to another profile. Students in the High All profile in 11th grade were more likely to aspire for STEM careers and health occupations than those in other profiles. Students in the Higher Science profile were more likely to aspire for health occupations than those in the Higher Math profile. There were significant differences between male and female students in profile membership, transition probability, and STEM career aspirations. In general, male students were more likely to be in latent profiles characterized by higher math and science motivation and aspire for traditional STEM careers. Female students were more likely to be in profiles characterized by lower motivation and aspire for health occupations. Career aspirations remained relatively stable from 9th grade to 11th grade. About 70% of students had the same career aspirations in 11th grade as in 9th grade. About 62.5 % of the participants’ first major in college was consistent with their career aspirations in 11th grade. Implications of these results for research and interventions on math and science motivation and STEM career aspirations are discussed.
Zheng, J.(2022). High School Students’ Math and Science Motivation Profiles: Stability and Relationship With Their Stem Career Aspirations. (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from https://scholarcommons.sc.edu/etd/6876