Survey finds STEM students have high academic aspirations

Special to HuntingtonNews.Net

Charleston, WV (HNN) – According to a research brief released Thursday, April 21, 2011 by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, students planning to major in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields have high aspirations for education and training beyond high school. 

These findings are from the Class of 2010 High School Senior Opinions Survey, which includes responses from more than 4,500 graduating seniors from schools across the state.


According to the study, prospective STEM majors reported being more prepared for college-level coursework, earning higher grades in high school, scoring higher on the ACT, and taking more high-level mathematics courses. In addition, 90 percent of these students planned to attend college, compared to 79 percent of students who did not plan to major in a STEM field.  Approximately 58 percent of prospective STEM majors said they first considered attending college in elementary school, compared to about 39 percent of non-STEM peers.  Similarly, nearly 40 percent of prospective STEM majors reported hopes to obtain doctorate degrees, compared to 11 percent of non-STEM peers.


STEM fields create a foundation for an educated, high-tech workforce and provide for a diversified economy,” said Dr. Brian Noland, the Commission’s Chancellor. “These findings indicate that our students are committed to obtaining the necessary knowledge and skills that lead to successful careers in STEM-focused areas.”


“Reports tell us that while demand for STEM jobs and workers is high, the supply of an educated workforce is unlikely to match that demand,” said Dr. Paul Hill, the Commission’s Vice Chancellor for Science and Research. “This survey points to a promising trend among our younger populations. The state’s higher education system has an obligation to ensure that these students’ educational careers are strong and lead them to do great things that move West Virginia forward.”


The research brief (attached) also found that prospective STEM majors were more likely to report plans to attend an in-state public institution, rely on parents for financial support, and select an institution because of affordability and academic offerings.


For information about science and research initiatives that support STEM education in West Virginia, visit the Commission’s Division of Science and Research at

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