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Physical Review Physics Education Research
written by John Stewart, John Hansen, and Eric Burkholder
This study examined physics major retention to degree at two institutions with substantially different admissions selectivity. Two modes of leaving the physics major were examined: leaving college and changing to another major while staying in college. The risk of leaving college while still enrolled as a physics major was highest in the spring freshman semester. The changing major risk was substantially different between the two institutions. For the less selective institution, the students changed major at the highest rate in the fall sophomore semester. For the more selective institution, the risk of changing major was high through the first two years of college with highest risk in the fall freshman semester and the fall junior semester. Different features were important in predicting the two modes of leaving; these also differed between institutions. For the less selective institution, math readiness (being academically prepared to enroll in Calculus 1 in the fall freshman semester) was the most predictive feature for leaving the physics major while staying in college; high school GPA was the most important feature for predicting both leaving college and graduating with a physics degree. For the more selective institution, ACT composite scores were the only significant predictor of retention. The role of math readiness was dramatic at the less selective institution with 41% of students not math ready upon enrolling in college as physics majors; 59% of these students failed to enroll in the first required physics class.
Physical Review Physics Education Research: Volume 18, Issue 2, Pages 020117
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Education Foundations
- Research Design & Methodology
= Evaluation
= Statistics
- Sample Population
= School Setting
Education Practices
- Recruitment
General Physics
- Physics Education Research
Other Sciences
- Mathematics
- Lower Undergraduate
- Upper Undergraduate
- Reference Material
= Research study
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Access Rights:
Free access
License:
This material is released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.
Rights Holder:
American Physical Society
DOI:
10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.18.020117
NSF Numbers:
ECR-1561517
HRD-1834569
DUE-1833694
Keywords:
physics identity, physics student attrition, student preparation, student retention
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created September 28, 2022 by Lyle Barbato
Record Updated:
April 20, 2023 by Caroline Hall
Last Update
when Cataloged:
September 15, 2022
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AIP Format
J. Stewart, J. Hansen, and E. Burkholder, , Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. 18 (2), 020117 (2022), WWW Document, (https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.18.020117).
AJP/PRST-PER
J. Stewart, J. Hansen, and E. Burkholder, Visualizing and predicting the path to an undergraduate physics degree at two different institutions, Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. 18 (2), 020117 (2022), <https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.18.020117>.
APA Format
Stewart, J., Hansen, J., & Burkholder, E. (2022, September 15). Visualizing and predicting the path to an undergraduate physics degree at two different institutions. Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res., 18(2), 020117. Retrieved February 22, 2024, from https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.18.020117
Chicago Format
Stewart, J, J. Hansen, and E. Burkholder. "Visualizing and predicting the path to an undergraduate physics degree at two different institutions." Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. 18, no. 2, (September 15, 2022): 020117, https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.18.020117 (accessed 22 February 2024).
MLA Format
Stewart, John, John Hansen, and Eric Burkholder. "Visualizing and predicting the path to an undergraduate physics degree at two different institutions." Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. 18.2 (2022): 020117. 22 Feb. 2024 <https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.18.020117>.
BibTeX Export Format
@article{ Author = "John Stewart and John Hansen and Eric Burkholder", Title = {Visualizing and predicting the path to an undergraduate physics degree at two different institutions}, Journal = {Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res.}, Volume = {18}, Number = {2}, Pages = {020117}, Month = {September}, Year = {2022} }
Refer Export Format

%A John Stewart %A John Hansen %A Eric Burkholder %T Visualizing and predicting the path to an undergraduate physics degree at two different institutions %J Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. %V 18 %N 2 %D September 15, 2022 %P 020117 %U https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.18.020117 %O application/pdf

EndNote Export Format

%0 Journal Article %A Stewart, John %A Hansen, John %A Burkholder, Eric %D September 15, 2022 %T Visualizing and predicting the path to an undergraduate physics degree at two different institutions %J Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. %V 18 %N 2 %P 020117 %8 September 15, 2022 %U https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.18.020117


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