What is it about?
High school students who take AP math and/or science courses have higher interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields. In this study, my coauthors and I wanted to know whether these differences could be attributed to a positive effect of AP or to pre-existing differences. We controlled for variables to determine whether AP students' higher and found that most or all of the differences in STEM interest could be attributed to pre-AP differences in interest. Thus, AP math courses probably do not cause students to become more interested in STEM.
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Why is it important?
Some people think that the way to increase student engagement and interest in STEM fields is through offering advanced courses, like AP classes. However, our research shows that most or all of students' interest in STEM can be traced to their pre-existing interest. Therefore, offering AP courses is likely not an effective way to make students more interested in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Read the Original
This page is a summary of: The Relationship Between Advanced Placement Mathematics Courses and Students’ STEM Career Interest, Educational Researcher, March 2019, American Educational Research Association (AERA), DOI: 10.3102/0013189x19825811.
You can read the full text:
AERA press release
Press release from AERA.
Related literature review
Open access article that is a literature review about the knowledge of the effects of the AP program. The Warne, Sonnert, & Sadler (2019) article is my first AP study based on what I learned writing the literature review.
University press release
Press release issued by Utah Valley University about the study.
Provo Daily Herald story
Brief summary of the study in the Provo Daily Herald.
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