Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Clearinghouse Findings on Factors in College Entry, Science & Engineering Majors

The National Student Clearinghouse provides a variety of services to schools districts and universities around the country, including a tracking service used to calculate reliable college-entry and retention rates. The Boise District has used Clearinghouse services since 2005.

The Clearinghouse has a research group that is increasingly producing interesting reports about patterns of college attendance and graduation patterns nationwide. An article today in the Huffington Post by Jennifer Klein told of an NSC research report indicating that poverty is the strongest factor influencing college attendance, regardless of minority or rural/urban status of the school. Here is the NSC research report, in which the college enrollment patterns of over 3.5 million students were studied.

Though few would be surprised by the findings in the NSC report, it points up the importance of scholarship and grant opportunities for students with potential such as Capital alum Kristie Hoang, last year's Bev and George Harad AVID scholarship winner, who's attending the University of Southern California this fall.

NSC researchers have also done analyses of Science and Engineering degree patterns among students nationwide in their database. One article examines patterns of Science and Engineering degrees by gender, and finds that degree completions are increasing rapidly for both women and men, and that the percentages by gender of S & E degree completion are equivalent.

However, the study includes social science and psychology degrees in the Science and Engineering category. When the data are broken down, 81% of Engineering degrees are attained by males, a statistic that has not changed since 2009. The percentages in other areas: Math and Computer Science, 74% male, and Physical Sciences and Earth and Ocean Sciences, 62% males.

On the other hand, 58% of Biological and Ag Science degrees and 62% of Social Science and Psychology degrees were attained by females.