The research team from the Motivation and Identity Research Lab, headed by Distinguished Professor Jacquelynne Eccles, presented across three research conferences this summer: the International Conference on Motivation, the Gender and STEM Network Conference, and the Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association.
Presentation titles, presenters, and abstracts are listed below.
International Conference on Motivation
August 15-17, 2018
Title: "Math Efficacy and Interest of Hispanic Youth: Impacts on Achievement and Course Preference across Adolescence"
Authors: Anna-Lena Dicke, Nayssan Safavian, Stuart A. Karabenick, Jacquelynne S. Eccles
Research using the Expectancy-Value Theory (Eccles et al., 1983) has shown students’ expectations for success and interest to drive their achievement and educational choices. However, most research has been conducted with largely middle-class European and Caucasian-American populations. There is reason to believe that these constructs function differentially across other ethnic groups. For instance, misalignment between success expectations and actual achievement has been documented across different race-ethnic groups (Stevens et al., 2004). Building on these findings, we examine the longitudinal associations between efficacy, and interest across one school year, and their relations to achievement and enrollment preferences among a sample of adolescent Hispanic youth (N=6,025) spanning from 7th to 10th grade. Given findings on gender differences for white populations, we also examine whether associations differentially inform outcomes for females and males. Multi-group path analyses by grade level showed that interest beliefs consistently and positively predicted the development of efficacy from 7th to 10th grade. In all grades, math efficacy beliefs more strongly predicted math achievement than interest, whereas higher levels of interest increased the likelihood of a math course preference across all grades. However, when investigating associations separately by gender, gendered patterns emerged for later grades (9th/10th): Interest beliefs appeared to be more important for motivational development, achievement and math course preference for females, whereas efficacy beliefs were more important for males. While matching some of the previous research conducted with white middle-class populations, our findings indicate some important difference for this Hispanic sample that needs to be explored further.
4th Gender and STEM Network Conference
July 31-August 2, 2018
Title: "Who, What and When? Understanding STEMM Aspirations of Adolescent Hispanic Youth"
Authors: Nayssan Safavian, Anna-Lena Dicke, Yannan Gao, Jacquelynne S. Eccles, Stuart A. Karabenick
Statistics around the underrepresentation of Hispanics and women in STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, & Medicine) have focused on attainment of advanced degrees—neglecting the STEMM-related workforce outside these margins. Using an expanded STEMM framework, we examine Hispanic youths’ STEMM aspirations by gender, across grades, and predictors of aspirations. 7,835 adolescent Hispanic youths’ (52% female, 71% low-income, 49% English learners) occupational aspirations and motivations were surveyed. Aspirations were aggregated into STEMM and STEMM-support categories. Hispanic youth aspire to STEMM (33-44%). STEMM aspirations matched gendered expectations: Females aspired to Healthcare (both practitioner and support) occupations, whereas males aspired to Architecture and Engineering, Computer and Mathematics, and Technician occupations. The likelihood of STEMM and STEMM-support aspirations increased with higher math expectancy-value beliefs. Findings imply that Hispanic youths’ STEMM aspirations differentiate by gender and with maturity and experience. Divergent choices could reflect gender-specific cultural norms and changes in perceptions of affordances over time.
American Psychological Association Annual Meeting
August 9-12, 2018
San Francisco, California
Title: "From Engineers to Nurses: Gender Differences in STEMM Aspirations of Hispanic Youth from Middle-to-High School"
Authors: Nayssan Safavian, Yannan Gao, Anna-Lena Dicke, Jacquelynne S. Eccles, Stuart A. Karabenick
The divergence from STEMM has been explained by race, gender, and socioeconomic status, as well as occupational prestige, gender stereotypes, and cultural norms. However, much of these findings have focused on attainment of advanced STEMM degrees (a small fraction of the workforce) neglecting the STEMM-related workforce outside of these margins. This oversight underestimates the representation of Hispanics and females working or aspiring to STEMM. Using an extended STEMM career framework, we examine Hispanic youths’ (n=7,835; 52% female, 71% low income, 49% English learners) STEMM aspirations across grades 7-11 by asking: 1) What STEMM careers are female and male Hispanic youths aspiring to and do aspirations differentiate across grades? Do STEMM aspirations significantly differ for adolescent Hispanic males and females? Overall, STEMM aspirations aligned with gendered expectations with females focusing on helping others and males focusing on working with tools and machines. Healthcare practitioner occupations were most frequently reported across all grades and among all STEMM occupations for females. Aspirations for Healthcare support and Social Science careers increased across grades as aspirations to Healthcare practitioner careers decreased over grades. For males, a differentiated pattern emerged: Healthcare Practitioners were most frequently followed by Architecture and Engineering and Computer and Mathematics occupations. Reported Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Technician and Healthcare support aspirations increased in later grades. Albeit cross-sectional, findings from these analyses imply that Hispanic youth’s STEMM aspirations differentiate by gender and over time with maturity and experience. This diversification might represent more realistic perceptions of their affordances. More importantly, Hispanic youth, male and female, aspire to STEMM occupations, despite their underrepresentation in these fields.
Title: "What Makes Them Persist? Expectancy-Value Beliefs and the Math Participation and Preparedness of Hispanic Youth"
Author: Nayssan Safavian
The Eccles et al. Expectancy–Value Theory was used to examine the longitudinal associations of Hispanic youths’ ninth-grade math expectancy-values and their participation (quantity and quality of course-taking), performance, and preparedness (high school graduation and university eligibility) over time (9th-to-12th grade). The study sample comprised of largely low-income and first-generation youth (n=1,116; 53% female, 46% English Learner, 84% low- income). Gender moderation of expectancy-values and participation, performance, and preparedness were evaluated. Students’ socio-demographic background and previous achievement experiences were controlled. Hispanic males reported higher expectancy, interest, attainment, and cost values. Females completed more math courses and advanced courses, achieved stronger course-grades, and were more likely to satisfy graduation and university eligibility requirements. Gender moderation effects were also found. The odds of graduation preparedness are increased for Hispanic females with high attainment value whereas the odds of university preparedness are increased for Hispanic males with high utility value.