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Theses Doctoral

The Impact of Parent Involvement on High-Achieving Females' Mathemmatics Performance and Decision to Major in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics

Johnson, O'Rita G.

Female students continue to lag behind their male counterparts in STEM degree attainment despite performing as well as boys in mathematics and science in high school. Female students who expressed interest in mathematics and science may opt out of majoring in STEM once in college. Given that women may not be perceived as mathematics doers, this perception may affect their decision to pursue STEM careers. In many instances, it is the parents’ encouragement that helps their children to be persistent in mathematics and science. It is important to understand how parents’ involvement in the lives of high-achieving female college students contribute to them persisting and belonging in the STEM domain.

In this narrative study, I explored parental influence on mathematics performance, self-efficacy and the factors that may contribute to high-achieving female college students’ interest and persistence in the STEM domain. The participants are eight high-achieving female students from an urban community college who are matriculated STEM majors. This study used Eccles et al.’s (1994) Expectancy-Value Theoretical Model of Achievement Choices and Phelan, Davidson & Yu’s (1998) Multiple Worlds Model to explore parent involvement and the factors that contribute to high-achieving college female’ persistence in STEM. Narratives of the female students’ mathematics experiences were constructed from data collected through multiple sources: student interviews, a parent interview, mathematics autobiographies, and questionnaires.

Findings indicate that parents and other family members played an integral role in the students’ mathematics performance, mathematics self-efficacy and persistence in STEM. Furthermore, the depth of parental involvement of several of the participants was consistent throughout their college years.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Mathematics Education
Thesis Advisors
Walker, Erica
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
June 6, 2019