Teachers College, Columbia University

Race to STEM: Can STEM Dual Enrollment Lower the Racial Gap in STEM Enrollment and Completion?

Date and Time: March 21, 2020 8:30 a.m.–10 a.m. CST
Location: Fort Worth, TX
Venue: Online

Due to the spread of COVID-19, this session took place via livestream. 

Racial/ethnic disparities in STEM major choice and degree attainment are stark, and studies have frequently found that underrepresented minorities leave STEM fields at higher rates than their counterparts. Evidence from the literature suggests that mathematical skills, high school coursework, and college majors predict individuals' labor market earnings and that differences in pre-college preparation seem to explain STEM racial disparities. Since STEM degrees pay substantially and increasingly more than other fields, high attrition rates among STEM underrepresented minorities are believed to exacerbate the race wage gap.

In this presentation, researchers discussed one possible way to narrow the racial gap in pre-college preparation and STEM skills: math and science dual enrollment. DE, which allows high school students to take college-level courses, has surged in popularity over the past decade and aims to help students adjust to postsecondary expectations and reduce costs to students and overall time to earning a degree, among other goals. In this study, researchers examined if taking college-level math and science courses as a DE student influences participation and performance in high school, pre-college preparation, and college enrollment and graduation. Preliminary results suggest that participating in DE in math and science courses reduces enrollment in remedial math, induces students to begin college as STEM majors, and increases STEM degree attainment.


Senior Research Associate
Community College Research Center
Research Affiliate
Community College Research Center

Associated Project(s)