What Makes Them Leave and Where Do They Go? Non-completion and Institutional Departures in STEM
This chapter presents the results of a quantitative analysis of national data covering Danish students who in the period 1995–2009 completed an upper-secondary school programme and entered a higher-education science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) programme. The analysis focuses on identifying variables that change the hazard ratio for (1) entering a STEM programme and (2) leaving a STEM programme without completing it. Finally, the chapter explores (3) the destinations of students who leave a STEM higher-education programme. It is found that there has been no change in the relative chance of a male or female student entering a STEM programme. The results suggest that female students are more affected by achieving a high grade-point average and by the educational background of their parents than are the male students. The relative risk of non-completion is higher for women than for men, but the most important factor is GPA on entry. A disturbing result is that when student leave a STEM programme, only one third enter another STEM programme. Slightly more enter a non-STEM programme while non-STEM leavers only rarely enter a STEM programme. Non-completion in STEM higher education is a net loss of STEM graduates.
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