Factors that Influence Participation of Students in Secondary Science and Mathematics Subjects in IB Schools Outside of the United States and Canada
The purpose of this study was to investigate factors that affect the extent of international secondary students' participation in International Baccalaureate science and mathematics courses. The factors examined were gender, home region, size, percent host culture and age of the program, and coeducational and legal status of the school. Participation in math and science subjects was determined by analyzing the level and number of courses taken by students taking International Baccalaureate exams in 2010. Chi-Square and Cramer's V analysis were used to measure the effect of categorical variables on student participation and One-Way ANOVA and Bonferroni comparison of means were used to analyze the quantitative variables. All categorical variables were statistically significant (p<.01). Home region was the most important factor affecting participation in both math and science. Students from East, Southeast and South-Central Asia; and Eastern Europe have greater participation in math. The highest science participation came from students in East, Southern and Western Africa; and Southeast Asia. Top participators in science came from Australia/New Zealand, Northern Europe, East Africa and South-Central and Western Asia. State schools showed higher math and science participation. Science and math participation was also greater in all-male schools though associations were weak. Boys participated more than girls, especially in math. All quantitative variables were statistically significant. The program size had the largest effect size for both math and science with larger programs showing more participation at the higher level. A decreasing trend for age of the program and percent host culture was found for math participation. Three years of participation data were collected from an international school in Western Europe (n = 194). Variables included the influence of parent occupation, math preparedness (PSAT-Math), student achievement (GPA), and the importance of significant others in career and academic decisions. Findings indicate that performance on the PSAT- Math was the most important predictor of both science and mathematics participation. Twenty students were also interviewed. Results showed the importance of several key factors. These include the role of parents in student academic and career decisions, the importance of personal interest, and the contribution of early decisions in confidence-building.
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- Education, Mathematics;Education, Leadership;Education, Policy;Education, Sciences