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The Effects of High School Course Taking and SAT Scores on College Major Selection

Abstract

"A survey study design was employed to examine the relationship between enrollment in computer and Advanced Placement courses during high school, SAT scores and subsequent selection of a STEM major in post-secondary education. Study data were collected through an online survey from a multi-school charter school system in which a variety of computer courses are offered to 9-12 grade students. The study showed that students' scores on the SAT reading section and, total composite score (reading + mathematics) had a statistically significant relationship with students' selection of a science, engineering, technology, and mathematics [STEM] major. Although there was not a statistically significant relationship between students' SAT mathematics scores, there was a pattern showing that students with higher SAT mathematics scores were more likely to choose a STEM major. We also found that there was a statistically significant relationship between the number of AP science courses and total number of AP courses taken by students and their selection of a STEM major. The final analysis revealed that there was no statistically significant difference between those who chose STEM majors and the number of computer courses taken."

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