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Examining Motivation through STEM courses by GPA and Major

Year: 2023

Presenter Name: Kody Garrett

With an increase of diverse students entering college (including non-traditional and first-generation students), it is important students are engaged in science. To be engaged in science, students might be motivated by both external (grade and career motivation) and internal factors (interest in science). Previous research has been conducted to determine internal and external motivational factors and the impact of those factors on student achievement in class (GPA). However, most of this research has been done at research-intensive institutions and not at open enrollment teaching focused institutions that tend to have a larger non-traditional and first-generation student populations.Therefore, research on the student populations at an open-enrollment institution is needed. Our study focused on various declared majors (Pre-Professional, Biology, Non-Biology STEM and Non-STEM) of students who were taking science classes and their self-reported GPA in addition to other factors in the beginning of the semester. As such our research questions were: 1) Which majors at a teaching focused, open enrollment institution, will have a higher science interest and career motivation? 2) How does science interest and career motivation at an open enrollment, teaching focused institution relate back to student science identity and career choice? A survey was sent out amongst 18 Biology department courses ranging from non-major introductory Biology courses to advanced Biology major courses. Comparisons were drawn between all majors for interest, career motivation and GPA by using one-way ANOVA to determine how different all the groups were from each other. A bonforroni post test was used to show a more detailed difference between groups. Our results indicated that there was significant difference between majors on interest and career motivation but no significant difference on overall GPA(this might be due in part to the self-reported aspect of this question). Those who declared themselves as Biology majors had the highest science interest, while those who were Non-STEM majors had the lowest science interest. Biology and Pre-Professional majors had approximately the same level of career motivation which is significantly higher than Non-Biology STEM and Non-STEM majors. Further research will be conducted on how much science interest plays a role in motivating students' career choice and science identity in a post-survey.
University / Institution: Utah Valley University
Type: Oral
Format: In Person
SESSION D (3:30-5:00PM)
Area of Research: Science & Technology
Faculty Mentor: Britt Wyatt
Location: Union Building, COLLEGIATE ROOM (4:10pm)