Secondary School Variables in Predicting Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (TEM) Major Choice

Philip Ruse, Yonghong Xu


This paper addresses the growing body of research into factors that can influence the decision for high school students to enter into a Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (TEM) major in college. A total n of 691, including 372 TEM majors (143 females and 229 males) were selected from the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 (ELS, 2002) using propensity matching. A Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) methodology was utilized in the Social Cognitive Career Theory framework and showed good model fit in the whole group, female only and male only groups. Though intent to major was a strong predictor, observed gender differences were observed related to latent and endogenous variables.

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