Keeping Pace: Educational Choice Motivations and First-Year Experiences in the Words of Italian Students

  • Giuseppe Pellegrini
  • Chiara Segafredo


Science and technology are among the most important disciplines for economic and social development. However, in recent years in Italy the number of students abandoning their studies in scientific faculties before the final examination is still significant. In addition, those who enroll on these courses of study frequently opt out of them at an early stage in order to move to other subjects. There are several causes for drop-out or migration to other courses of study. In this chapter we identify some factors that influence student retention in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) higher education by using quantitative and qualitative IRIS survey data from 2,667 Italian students. We begin by presenting theoretical and empirical perspectives from recent studies and by analyzing the science education literature. We then use quantitative data to examine students’ experiences, with a particular focus on interest, social relations, learning processes and working conditions at university. The second part of the chapter features an analysis of factors crucial for course abandonment which considers qualitative data on those students who assess their course selection negatively. Finally, we propose approaches that might sustain student motivation, with particular emphasis on external factors which might reduce drop-out and opt-out rates.


Female Student Educational Choice Italian Student Italian Male Iris Survey 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Observa Science in SocietyVicenzaItaly

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