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Analysis of STEM Retention and Gatekeeping Introductory Courses

Presented by:
Alexandra dePillis-Lindheim, Emily Gottry, & Kaitlyn Fitzgerald (Azusa Pacific University)

High attrition from STEM degrees among first and second-year undergraduates is an ongoing subject of concern and research in higher education institutions. Using seven years of student enrollment and class performance data from Azusa Pacific University (APU), this research examines both freshman and STEM retention rates with special regard to the success of students in introductory STEM courses. In order to identify gatekeeping courses that tend to have inequitable outcomes across demographic groups, the course, not the student, is the primary object of study. We identify courses that are associated with a higher probability of a student dropping a STEM major. These results are used to inform an ongoing Learning Assistants Program at APU, which seeks to place Learning Assistants in strategic courses in order to improve STEM retention and broaden STEM participation for all students.

Analysis of STEM Retention and Gatekeeping Introductory Courses.pdf