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Personality tests could help colleges retain STEM majorsTHURSDAY, JULY 25, 2013 10:20 AM

Personality tests could help colleges retain STEM majors A 2011 report by the U.S. Department of Commerce shows that in the past decade, the growth of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) jobs was three times greater than that of non-STEM jobs. This growth is expected to continue in the coming decade as well, meaning there will be a great need for Americans with a college degree in one of these subjects.

However, many college students who study STEM subjects end up switching their major before graduating. To determine why this happens, researchers from Georgia Tech and Rice universities studied 589 undergraduates at the Georgia Institute of Technology between 2000 and 2008, paying close attention to their personality traits, self-concept and motivation, Psych Central reports.

In doing so, the researchers found that female STEM students tend to switch majors because they have "lower self-concepts in math and science," while men typically have "lower levels of orientation toward mastery and organization."

Based on these results, researchers feel that colleges could better predict students' long-term success in STEM subjects if they look at their Advanced Placement exam scores and personality test results during the admissions process.


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