Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Shin, Eui-kyung

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Curriculum and Instruction


Secondary education


This qualitative case study examined the expectancy beliefs and value placed on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)-fields by female high school students as they relate to college major choice. Nineteen female high school seniors in a STEM-focused academic program from a large suburban high school in the Midwest identified their intended college major choice and explained their career goals along with their educational experiences that were helpful in the decision-making process. Through reflective essays, focus group discussions, and interviews, perspectives emerged that played a role in choosing a college major. The findings suggested that expectancy to be successful, along with attainment, intrinsic, and utility value placed on STEM fields, relate to the choice to major or not major in a STEM-related field. Moreover, these perceptions do not independently determine the choice of college major; however, they may holistically relate to the decision-making process. The findings of this study suggest that educational institutions can provide experiences that develop positive expectancy and value perceptions for STEM fields in order to increase the number of students who choose to enter STEM majors and careers.


Advisors: Eui-Kyung Shin.||Committee members: Mary Beth Henning; Stephen Tonks.||Includes bibliographical references.


134 pages




Northern Illinois University

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