A Multimethod Approach to Understanding Dropout from STEM Gateway Courses

Principal Investigator: 
Project Overview
Background & Purpose: 

To understand the relative contribution of cognitive and motivational factors in retention in chemistry and biology majors. Specifically, to measure cognitive factors related to the DIME model together with motivational factors related to Dweck’s Entity/Incremental self-theories, using both questionnaire and interview methods.

Setting: 

The research setting includes introductory chemistry and biology courses (designed for majors) in a large, moderately selective university in the mid-Atlantic.

Research Design: 

This longitudinal project collects original data using school records/ policy documents, an online survey questionnaire, semi-structured/ informal face-to-face interviews, and focus groups. The research design is longitudinal and employs observational, logistic regression, and growth curve analysis methods.

Findings: 

We have created a valid, reliable measure of biology and chemistry cognition, and validated a domain-specific adaptation of Dweck’s measure.

Other Products: 

This study develops a new measure of biology and chemistry cognition (which taps background knowledge, inference, study strategies, and comprehension).