#### Title

Factors that Influence College Students’ Choice of a Mathematics Based Career

#### Document Type

Oral Presentation

#### Location

SURC Ballroom B/C/D

#### Start Date

21-5-2015

#### End Date

21-5-2015

#### Keywords

Choice, College Major, Math

#### Abstract

A students’ choice of college major builds a foundation for their future career. One of the first decisions a student must make is a college math course, which is dependent on their choice of major. This researcher sought to provide insight into the choices students make about their first college math courses and college majors. The study population included students who had completed at least 45 credits at Central Washington University (CWU), in Ellensburg, Washington. Data were collected using the online survey software Qualtrics (Qualtrics, Provo, UT). The survey collected responses about their high school and college courses as well as a four-factor Attitudes Toward Mathematics Inventory (ATMI) developed by Dr. Martha Tapia, an associate professor of mathematics at Berry College in Mount Berry, Georgia. The ATMI measures students’ enjoyment of math, self-confidence in math, motivation to do math, and perceived value of math. The results from this study showed a statistically significant relationship between the rigor of a student’s last high school math course and their choice of a math dependent college major. The relationship between the grade students received in their last high school math courses and choosing a math-dependent college major was also statistically significant. The results of the ATMI showed that students who report a higher level of enjoyment of math, motivation to do math, and value for math were statistically more likely to choose majors that require math. Motivation to do math was the factor with the highest positive correlation with choosing a math dependent college major.

#### Recommended Citation

Guadarrama, Veronica, "Factors that Influence College Students’ Choice of a Mathematics Based Career" (2015). *Symposium Of University Research and Creative Expression (SOURCE)*. 131.

https://digitalcommons.cwu.edu/source/2015/posters/131

#### Poster Number

39

#### Department/Program

Mathematics

#### Additional Mentoring Department

Mathematics

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Factors that Influence College Students’ Choice of a Mathematics Based Career

SURC Ballroom B/C/D

A students’ choice of college major builds a foundation for their future career. One of the first decisions a student must make is a college math course, which is dependent on their choice of major. This researcher sought to provide insight into the choices students make about their first college math courses and college majors. The study population included students who had completed at least 45 credits at Central Washington University (CWU), in Ellensburg, Washington. Data were collected using the online survey software Qualtrics (Qualtrics, Provo, UT). The survey collected responses about their high school and college courses as well as a four-factor Attitudes Toward Mathematics Inventory (ATMI) developed by Dr. Martha Tapia, an associate professor of mathematics at Berry College in Mount Berry, Georgia. The ATMI measures students’ enjoyment of math, self-confidence in math, motivation to do math, and perceived value of math. The results from this study showed a statistically significant relationship between the rigor of a student’s last high school math course and their choice of a math dependent college major. The relationship between the grade students received in their last high school math courses and choosing a math-dependent college major was also statistically significant. The results of the ATMI showed that students who report a higher level of enjoyment of math, motivation to do math, and value for math were statistically more likely to choose majors that require math. Motivation to do math was the factor with the highest positive correlation with choosing a math dependent college major.

## Faculty Mentor(s)

Mark Oursland