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APA/NSF STUDY
RESULTS: IMSA’S
PERSPECTIVE
THE WALLACE SYMPOSIUM
MARCH 23, 2014
Christopher G Kolar
Director of Institutional Research and Effectiveness
IMSA’s role
IMSA’s role in the study
 Trustee Paula Olszewski-Kubulius and
Christopher Kolar served on the research
committee for the study
 IMSA staff and alumni advised the project
research committee on instrument design
 Initial instrument piloted with IMSA class of
2004, leading to modifications in 2010
 IMSA classes of 2005-7 joined the study along
with other Consortium schools
IMSA’s participants
 STEM Degrees:
59.6%
 Females: 53%
 Residential STEM:
51.7%
 Females: 46%
 National: 22.6%
 TD: 53%
IMSA Study STEM Participants
 90.5% of IMSA graduates reported having a
parent that had attained a college degree
 67.9% of IMSA graduates reported a parent
who worked in a field that required STEM
expertise
Intensification of interest while
at IMSA
29% of
graduates
reported an
intensification
of interest in
STEM while
at IMSA.
These
students were
2.5x more
likely to attain
a STEM
degree.
 Faculty reinforcement of interest
increased the odds of reporting
intensification by 347%.
 Faculty reinforcement of self-
confidence suppressed odds of
intensification.
 Having selected intended major by
sophomore year suppressed odds
of intensification.
Secondary IMSA Findings
Loss of interest
 If primary motivation
was “desire to be
with academically
focused peer
group”: 7.8 times
more likely
 If pace too fast: 2x
 Faculty engagement
in student interest:
.01 as likely
 Experienced
environment as
competitive: .003 as
likely
Amplification Suppression
Undergraduate research
IMSA grads
who
participated in
independent
research were
2.23 times
more likely to
engage in
undergraduate
research.
 50% of graduates reported
participation in undergraduate
research.
 Undergraduate research boosts
STEM attainment odds by 3.9x
 Mediation effect?
IMSA Policy Implications
Admitting students
Matriculation
70
37
60
62
34
19
Matriculation + SATM
70/
735
37/623
60/629
62/696
34/564
19/478
Matriculation + Tilt
70/
47
37/130
60/-36
62/130
34/-10
19/13
Matriculation + STEM Degree
70/
73
37/71
60/62
62/67
34/51
19/54

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Wallace Symposium 2014: STEM school response to the data

Editor's Notes

  1. IMSA was involved early in this project at the invitation of Rena Subotnik. Starting with the survey instruments used for the IMSA Longitudinal Cohort Study, the NSF study expanded the instruments to include specific details about activities that students engaged in during and after high school. Additional items were added to probe engagement in science public policy issues, though we are not reporting on those measures at this time.
  2. This is where I need to talk about how everyone wants to know if we “won.” Our internal audience is very interested in school to school comparative data. The most important data is actually looking within our graduates for differential loadings of experiences on outcomes – though even at this granular level we can see that our numbers are slightly higher than the means across all groups.
  3. This is a critical connection to the other study participants. Like the other high potential students, they had a notable level of parental education. In addition, a very high proportion of participants reported having a parent in a STEM fields. I will note here, in the version of the PowerPoint for slideshare, that I could find no record of any female students withdrawing from IMSA if their mother had a graduate degree. That is bonus material for reading this far.
  4. It looks like there is a class of students whose interests are not over-determined and that benefit from faculty engagement of their emerging interests. While we look for students during the admission process who show a strong commitment to a STEM outcomes, one of the important “effects” or our program may be activation of latent potential in students who do not have a clear plan for what a STEM career would look like.
  5. 83% of the students reporting peer group as their primary motivation for attending reported losing interest in STEM during their time in the program. This could be part of a big fish, little pond effect. Note that this is 14% of our respondents. These are graduates, this is not the drop out rate. We need to take a longer look at the competitive aspect as a suppressing factor.
  6. With the rise of undergraduate research experiences being built into many STEM programs, we felt it would be worthwhile to see whether high school research experiences had a carryover effect on student engagement in undergraduate research programs. Research indicates that undergraduate research strongly influences STEM degree and career outcomes, so it is possible to view our high school program as part of a pipeline as opposed to looking for a direct influence on degree outcomes. The next stages of analysis will include looking for mediated and indirect effects in both the IMSA data as well as in the complete study dataset.
  7. This is a singular value decomposition of applicants from 5 dimensions to 2. From a policy perspective, we need to see how we can parse cluster 3 from cluster 2 “in the real world.”The dark blue cluster on the far right represents students who are the generally “gifted” population of SAT scores over 1500. They are difficult to turn down and present themselves well because of their high verbal skills. Approximately 70% of the students in this group enter IMSA.The light blue group in the lower right represent students with SATM scores, mean 696, as well as a tilt of 130 points over verbal. According to our redesigned admission policy, this is our target group: high achievement/potential in mathematics as well as a significant tilt away from verbal skills. The research indicates that students with these traits are the ones mostly likely to attain STEM outcomes in the long term. (Lubinski and Benbow). The rate at which applicants from this group matriculate is 62%.The cluster in the upper right are students with above average SATM scores (per our applicant pool), who have a tilt on average of -36 in the direction of verbal/critical reading. These students present themselves in their applications very well at excel at communicating their vision to the review committees. Nevertheless, these students are supposed to be ones that we look at more closely – the research indicates that they are more like to pursue the social sciences or careers in fields such as law that allow them to apply their reasoning skills. While our revised application process is supposed to put greater scrutiny on this group, they are admitted at a rate of 60% -- almost the same as the high-tilt group. This means that we are not necessarily discounting a high overall SAT in order to preference mathematics aptitude. Indeed, it is very difficult to take a look at a student with a score of 1400 and make the case that they are not likely to be an ideal candidate for our program.Finally, the gold cluster. This group consists of above average SATM scores, mean 623. While effectively the same as the light green group, their tilt, however, is 130 points. As viewed by the selection committee, however, this makes an interesting condition. The same SATM score, but an overall SAT difference that averages 180 points because of the SAT-CR differential. The rate of admission for this group is only 37 percent, though according to the literature this cluster should be preferred over the verbally talented group.
  8. This is the slide the sums it all up. Our gold group, admitted at a 37% rate, show that 71% eventually attain an initial degree in a STEM field – a rate that is functionally identical to the highest group in the testing. Repeat that: these kids that we admit that we are so-so about, they are just as likely to attain a STEM degree. In the same program, these students are not tracked in any way. They go through the same curriculum as the highest gifted applicants, this is the big takeaway that I need to stress another three or four times in front of the audience, and this is what I think distinguishes us from the talent development models. The gold group consists of students who would not show up on the radar or in the programs of the TD programs, but we can see that they are capable of accomplishing outcomes of significant strategic importance..