04 November 2011

The math-science death march

[S]tudents brush up against the reality of what David E. Goldberg, an emeritus engineering professor, calls “the math-science death march.” Freshmen in college wade through a blizzard of calculus, physics and chemistry in lecture halls with hundreds of other students. And then many wash out.

Studies have found that roughly 40 percent of students planning engineering and science majors end up switching to other subjects or failing to get any degree. That increases to as much as 60 percent when pre-medical students[.]

Via Marginal Revolution.

There is some nice discussion of what is wrong with STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education in colleges and universities in the comments at the linked post.

Another post at the same site notes that almost all of the growth in the number of college graduates the last twenty-five years has come in relatively low paying majors with modest wage premiums over high school like the visual and performing arts, communications and journalism, and psychology, while the number of STEM degrees awarded have stayed basically constant. It notes that "more than half of all humanities graduates end up in jobs that don’t require college degrees and these graduates don’t get a big college bonus."

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