Persistence in STEM: An Analysis of Achievement Goals, Gender, and Class Belonging

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This study investigated what factors contribute to motivational engagement, and specifically, persistence on coursework, for students in collegiate physics courses. Data were collected from 994 students in 1,000- and 2,000-level physics courses, who were surveyed as part of a larger study on motivation and engagement. Achievement goal orientations, sense of class belonging, and gender effects were examined via multiple linear regression in order to determine how each of these factors contributes to students' persistence on coursework within physics. Mastery-approach goal orientations and class belonging were found to be significantly and positively related to persistence, while performance-avoidance goal orientations were not found to have a significant relation to the persistence outcome. Despite previous work on female belonging in STEM, gender did not moderate the relation between class belonging and persistence. Implications and future directions are discussed.


Social and Behavioral Sciences: 3rd Place (The Ohio State University Edward F. Hayes Graduate Research Forum)


Achievement Goal Theory, Class Belonging, Women in STEM, Persistence