Increasing the Persistence of All Students in STEM
Persistence in STEM disciplines begins with broadening the pool of potential future scientists, including outreach and pre-college preparation activities that engage K–12 students and science teachers in scientific activities and curriculum that foster a curiosity in STEM disciplines and provide opportunities to enhance skills as well as gain research and lab experience.
Persistence in STEM largely depends on academic success in STEM courses, which in turn depends on making sure all students have the tools they need to succeed in the first year and beyond—including adequate quantitative reasoning and writing skills, as well as appropriate study habits and learning strategies.
Engaging StudentsStudents are more likely to persist in STEM when they are motivated to learn within content-rich, meaningful, and connected experiences that include research projects and other active learning pedagogies within courses. These experiences help students develop scientific skills and connect their learning to other disciplines and to broader problems of interest to them. All of the Capstone Institutions have embedded research experiences into a wide range of courses from introductory to upper-level courses and interdisciplinary courses. Research experiences are discussed in-depth in the Developing Inquiry Skills section of this site. Developing Inquiry Skills »
Capstone Institution efforts that support persistence of students in STEM in a sustained and systematic way share a number of common features, including thoughtful assessment as well as creation of a institutional culture that values inclusive excellence. In addition, there are essential values and mindsets about student capacity that must be shared broadly by a community in order for persistence efforts to flourish.