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Influence of Science, Technology, and Engineering Curriculum on Rural Midwestern High School Student Career Decisions

John Killingsworth, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Abstract

Low degree completion in technical and engineering degrees is a growing concern for policymakers and educators in the United States. This study was an examination of the behaviors of adolescents specific to career decisions related to technology and engineering. The central research question for this study was: do rural, Midwestern high school technical and engineering curricula serve to engage students sufficiently to encourage them to persist through high school while sustaining their interests in technology and engineering careers? Engaging students in technology and engineering fields is the challenge for educators throughout the country and the Midwest. Rural schools have the additional challenge of meeting those issues because of resource limitations. Students in three Midwestern schools were surveyed to determine the level of interest in technology and engineering. The generalized likelihood ratio test was used to overcome concerns for small sample sizes. Accounting for dependent variables, multiple independent variables are examined using descriptive statistics to determine which have greater influence on career decisions, specifically those related to technology and engineering. A typical science curriculum is defined for rural Midwestern high schools. This study concludes that such curriculum achieves the goal of maintaining or increasing student interest and engagement in STEM careers. Furthermore, those schools that incorporate contextual and experiential learning activities into the curriculum demonstrate increased results in influencing student career choices toward technology and engineering careers. Implications for parents, educators, and industry professionals are discussed.^

Subject Area

Education, Educational Psychology|Education, Sciences

Recommended Citation

Killingsworth, John, "Influence of Science, Technology, and Engineering Curriculum on Rural Midwestern High School Student Career Decisions" (2014). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3632221.
http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/dissertations/AAI3632221

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