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Pathways Leading STEM: The Role of Attending a Sequence of Racially Diverse Schools

August 1, 2019 01:50 PM

By Roxana Marisela Flores Rojas, Master's student, University Pompeu Fabra- BSM Barcelona School of Management

This session focused on The Benefits of Linking Health, Social and Education Issues in Policy Making directed by Martha Cecilia Bottia of the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. She presented the session explaining the key issue of checking whether there are long-term benefits for having attended various racially diverse schools (middle school, post-secondary highschool) and the choice regarding STEM specialization, since in the United States educational policy issues are still questioned. To understand the relationship, she said, “As a hypothesis, students who attended a sequence of racially diverse schools are more likely to declare or graduate with a STEM major than those students who did not attend a sequence of racially diverse schools.”

For the respective analysis the hierarchical logit model was used, which obtained as a result the confirmation that the students in the United States who are most likely to graduate with STEM specialization from four-year universities between 2004 and 2010 are those who attended racially diverse schools compared to those who did not. Examining the results, she explained that “among the benefits found of diversity which includes higher average test scores, students develop deeper ways of thinking and emit positive interactions with students of other races and ethnicities.”

In conclusion, the current educational political implications are not only to prioritize students’ acquisition of basic math and writing skills, but also to develop critical thinking and everyday problem-solving skills. Therefore, to continue on the path of post-secondary STEM success, it is important for children to attend racially diverse schools, since it allows them more interaction with the diverse cultures where they are more likely to learn such skills than in racially segregated schools.

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