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Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Iowa State University

2018

Geological and Atmospheric Sciences Publications

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Full-Text Articles in Education

Combining Academics And Social Engagement: A Major-Specific Early Alert Method To Counter Student Attrition In Science, Technology, Engineering, And Mathematics, Andrew J. Sage, Cinzia Cervato, Ulrike Genschel, Craig Ogilvie Jun 2018

Combining Academics And Social Engagement: A Major-Specific Early Alert Method To Counter Student Attrition In Science, Technology, Engineering, And Mathematics, Andrew J. Sage, Cinzia Cervato, Ulrike Genschel, Craig Ogilvie

Geological and Atmospheric Sciences Publications

Students are most likely to leave science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) majors during their first year of college. We developed an analytic approach using random forests to identify at-risk students. This method is deployable midway through the first semester and accounts for academic preparation, early engagement in university life, and performance on midterm exams. By accounting for cognitive and noncognitive factors, our method achieves stronger predictive performance than would be possible using cognitive or noncognitive factors alone. We show that it is more difficult to predict whether students will leave STEM than whether they will leave the institution. More ...