PostedWednesday, February 17, 2016 at 11:19 AM
This research brief discusses an article published in Science Education by Cannady, Greenwald, and Harris: "Problematizing the STEM pipeline metaphor: Is the STEM pipeline metaphor serving our students and the STEM workforce?"
Cannady, Greenwald, and Harris call into question the accuracy of the STEM pipeline metaphor, arguing that a decade of pipeline-related policy prescriptions has not significantly affected the numbers or demographics of the STEM workforce. In order to interrogate the appropriateness of the metaphor, they reanalyzed data from the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 and found that almost half of those who ended up in STEM careers had not taken high school calculus, an achievement often used to indicate preparedness for STEM majors.
This study serves as a reminder not to perpetuate the myth that young people without particular academic achievements should not bother to pursue STEM careers. As many studies show, women and members of minority groups are less likely to have the characteristics emphasized by the pipeline metaphor.
This research brief was produced by the NSF-funded Relating Research to Practice project.