‘There’s nothing wrong with science’
Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) students will have a better chance of getting into top engineering schools than students from other STEM fields, according to new data.
But there is no evidence that students from the fields that most often dominate STEM disciplines are at a disadvantage, say the results of a survey of engineering students at four leading universities in Canada and the U.K. that was conducted in February.
The survey was done by the Institute for Advanced Study, a national research institute based in the U, and asked about what students in the STEM fields say is important to them about their education.
The Institute for Advancing Innovative Education, which sponsored the survey, said the results suggest that students in engineering should be confident that their academic achievements are not affected by the “toxic culture” that is common among the fields they study.
“What’s important is not just that students are taking STEM classes, but that they have the right support systems,” said Peter Cappuccio, director of research and development at the institute.
“The fact that these students are confident in their academic abilities is a very important signal that their work is getting done, even if they don’t always feel it is.”
The results of the survey were released Tuesday, and show that the number of students with STEM degrees is growing at an impressive rate.
More than 1,300 students at the University of Guelph in Ontario, where most of the respondents are from, have received their degrees by the end of next year.
A large proportion of those students are still in their junior years.
“We are not the only university that is seeing this increase in the number and quality of students coming from the STEM [fields] across the board,” said Dr. James J. Smith, the director of the institute, in an interview.
“What’s really striking is that the STEM field has increased by roughly a factor of three in the last decade.”
The increase has been driven by the growth of technology and education.
In the last 10 years, the number working in the sciences has grown by roughly 20 per cent in Ontario.
The number of graduates with degrees in science has more than doubled, with more than 2,000 graduates in the field.
“I think we’re starting to see a significant number of those who were educated in the humanities, social sciences and the arts, getting degrees in the arts and sciences,” said Prof. Christopher F. Smith of the University at Buffalo, the author of the report.
“It’s a trend that is very positive for students and for universities.”
Students who are in a STEM field tend to have lower SAT scores, and the number who go to a STEM school is lower than in the rest of the country, according the report, which was released at the Institute For Advanced Study conference in Ottawa.
The results suggest students who are not studying in STEM fields are not likely to succeed in college.
“The students who come from the humanities or social sciences have an advantage,” said Fergus E. MacDougall, a professor at the university who has studied the STEM issue extensively.
“There’s a very strong relationship between SAT score and college acceptance.
There’s a higher correlation between a high SAT score for students in a field and an acceptance rate for students from that field.”
However, the report suggests that students who do attend a STEM program are likely to perform better in college than those who are still studying in humanities or the arts.
“There are a number of very strong reasons why people who are very interested in a career in science or engineering may not choose a career path in the more arts and social sciences,” MacDougal said.
“This suggests that a career pathway in the science and engineering is less attractive than a career choice in humanities and social science.”
For example, he said, the humanities have been historically more popular among young people, while the social sciences are becoming more popular as they mature.
“Science and engineering are not as attractive as engineering and technology because people want to know more about the science, technology and mathematics that they are applying to,” MacDougall said.
The findings also show that students with an engineering background tend to be more confident in themselves and their abilities, and may be better able to apply their knowledge to real-world problems.
“They are more likely to apply [their knowledge] to a problem and to do so quickly, which means they are less likely to need to apply to an advisor,” MacDonald said.
The report also found that students that are more comfortable with their abilities and more confident with themselves tend to do better in the end.
“People are really interested in being able to think in a different way,” said Smith.
“That’s a good thing for everyone.
They are not necessarily the best engineers.”
In the U., only about 40 per cent of engineering and computer science students are expected to be in the top 10 per cent.
But students from those fields make up a