Project funded by Division of Human Resource Development
Student-retention theories traditionally focus on institutional retention, even though efforts to support students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) occur at the college level. This study bridges this gap between research and practice by extending and empirically testing the Model of Co-Curricular Support (MCCS), which specifically focuses on supporting and retaining underrepresented groups in STEM. The MCCS is a student-retention model that demonstrates the breadth of assistance currently used to support undergraduate students in STEM, particularly those from underrepresented groups. The aim of this exploratory research is to develop and validate a survey instrument grounded in the MCCS that can be used by college administrators and student-support practitioners to assess the magnitude of institutional support received by undergraduate students in STEM. To date, such an instrument does not exist.
Our poster will present a summary of the instrument development process that has occurred to date. We are developing the survey following best practices outlined in the literature. We are clearly defining the construct of interest and target population; reviewing related tests; developing the prototype of the survey instrument; evaluating the prototype for face and content validity from students and experts; revising and testing based on suggestion; and collecting data to determine test validity and reliability across four institutional contexts. Our institutional sample sites were purposefully selected because of their large size and diversity with respect to undergraduates in STEM. The results from our study will help prioritize the elements of institutional support that should appear somewhere in a college’s suite of support efforts. Our study will provide scientific evidence that STEM researchers, educators, administrators, and policy makers need to make informed decisions to improve STEM learning environments and design effective programs, activities, and services.
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