An Exploratory Study on Initial Stem Classes and African American Freshman males who are STEM Majors at a Large Mid-Atlantic State University: Factors Affecting Self-Efficacy Beliefs and Persistence in the STEM Pipeline




Calhoun, William Jason

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The purpose of this study was to test how well social cognitive career theory (SCCT) explains the effects of an introductory freshman year science course on the career perspectives of African American males at a large, public mid-Atlantic state university. Embracing SCCT as the foundation of this project, the dissertation intended to gather data from these young men to develop insight into how and in what ways their self-efficacy throughout the semester was influenced by their first science course, and changing their outlook on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) careers while in school and after graduation. To a small number of freshman African American male students who have declared themselves STEM majors, I utilized a qualitative study investigating this phenomenon. The major findings detailed themes that affected these young men including concerns about mathmatics preparation, isolation, balance, microagression, and help-seeking. Results indicate that there was an impact on the confidence, achievement, and goal setting for these young men due to these factors and that social cognitive career theory was an appropriate framework from which to test these questions.



Education, Science education, African American freshman males, Persistence, Self-Efficacy beliefs, Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT), STEM