The Importance Of Stem Classes On The Parents Of The Utility Value Of Math And Science Classes

The Importance Of Stem Classes On The Parents Of The Utility Value Of Math And Science Classes

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As described in both the Yahoo article as well as the original study, Harackiewicz and her colleagues hypothesized that if the trio was to convince the parents of the utility value of math and science classes, that these parents would, in turn, communicate this importance to their children, leading these students to take more math and science classes in high school than compared to the children of parents that did not receive the information, as well as having more conversations about the importance of STEM classes with their parents. The independent variable being tested then would be whether or not parents received information on the importance of STEM classes or not, and the dependent variable would be how many STEM classes students ended up taking in high school, and how often they discussed the importance of STEM classes with their parents.
This field experiment consisted of a sample size of 188 students, [88 girls, (47 in control group, 39 in experimental group), and 100 boys (53 in control group, 42 in experimental group)], and their parents (however, only 181 of the 188 total students were used in the study as a result of various complications that prevented the researchers from obtaining the transcripts of 7 students). These students were U.S. high school students and were selected by the longitudinal Wisconsin Study of Families and Work, where “women in the 5th month of pregnancy were recruited through physicians’ offices and clinics in the Milwaukee (80% of sample) and Dane County (20%) areas of Wisconsin, and families were followed longitudinally through the adolescents’ final year in highschool (Harackiewicz et al., pg. 900).” The study also tried to take a sample that accurately depicted the ethnic composition of Wi...


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There is one thing that I do find to slightly tarnish the credibility of the reporter, however. This is the fact that the reporter does misquote the original study, using the dialogue “It 's well known that children of more educated parents take more math and science courses in high school. The effect of our intervention was just as strong as the parent education effect,” whereas the original study never makes the claim that the effect of the intervention equaled that of the effect of the parents’ education, it only suggests that “the effect of our randomized intervention was almost as strong as the effect of parents’ education…” Although the difference is only slight, suggesting equality when there is only similarity is no small matter in scientific research.
Other than this one misquotation I believe the reporter gives a credible summary of this research study.

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