Why students later pursue careers in STEM subjects

National Science Foundation funds project with participation of the University of Bonn with about 2.5 million US dollars

An international team including Thomas Dohmen, spokesperson of the ECONtribute Cluster of Excellence at the Universities of Bonn and Cologne, has received a grant of up to $2.5 million from the U.S. National Science Foundation (NFS). In the funded study, the researchers will determine the extent to which students’ personality traits, executive function skills, and preferences predict their later academic achievement and careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The project will run for five years.

Thomas Dohmen is collaborating on the project with Nobel Prize-winning economist James J. Heckman, director of the Center for the Economics of Human Development at the University of Chicago. The other co-principal investigators are Stephanie M. Carlson of the University of Minnesota and Patrick. C Kyllonen of the Educational Testing Service.

The multidisciplinary team headed by James J. Heckman will measure students’ executive function skills, traits and preferences to see which can best predict performance in STEM courses from fourth grade through high school. The study will also determine how these personal attributes predict choice of college major and career.

"The study will help identify age-specific windows of opportunity for interventions that promote STEM achievement and the pursuit of STEM majors," Thomas Dohmen said. "Pinpointing the attributes associated with success in STEM fields will help teachers and school personnel better identify and counsel students with strong STEM potential, and even personalize instruction to improve their outcomes."

With a grant of $1 million for the first year and expected funding of $2.5 million through 2027, the study will analyze data on traits and skills from three sites in the United States and China, as well as data from the Australian Household, Income and Labour Dynamics Survey.

ECONtribute: The only cluster of excellence in economic sciences

ECONtribute is the only Cluster of Excellence in economic sciences funded by the German Research Foundation - supported by the Universities of Bonn and Cologne. The cluster conducts research on markets in the area of tension between business, politics and society. The aim of ECONtribute is to better understand markets and to find a fundamentally new approach to the analysis of market failures that meets the social, technological and economic challenges of today, such as increasing inequality and political polarization or global financial crises.


This site uses cookies and analysis tools to improve the usability of the site. More information. |