Previous studies reported relatively low correlation coefficients between students’ high school science experiences and their science identities. This needs more exploratory studies to investigate the reasons for these low correlation coefficients. This article presents the high school science experiences of three non-science major undergraduate students and the influence from their experiences, in their perspective, on their choice of a non-science major in college. Three female Hispanic non-science major undergraduate students were interviewed about their high school science experiences. Data were analyzed to answer the research question: From three female Hispanic students’ perspectives, what are some factors from high school science experiences that influenced students’ choice of non-science majors in college studies, particularly some specific factors related to their Hispanic cultural backgrounds and gender role. The most mentioned influential factor among three participants was didactic teaching styles of their high school science teachers. Another important finding was low performance/self-efficacy in math may predict students’ low interest/persistence in science but high performance/self-efficacy in math does not necessarily predict students’ high interest/persistence in science.


Choice of Major, Female, Hispanic, Exploratory Case Study

Author Bio(s)

Feng Li is a Ph.D. candidate in Curriculum and Instruction, specializing in science education, at the Department of Teaching and Learning in Florida International University. His research interest focuses on: development and application of biology modeling instruction in high schools and colleges, effect of modeling instruction on students' interest, motivation and persistence in science, development of students' science identities. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: fli003@fiu.edu.

Xuan Jiang is an Assistant Professor of Teachers of English to Speakers of other Languages (TESOL) at Saint Thomas University. Her main research focuses on: contextualization and de-contextualization of borrowed curriculum in elementary and middle schools, the use of instructional strategies to English speakers of other languages (ESOL) in science classes. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: xjiang@stu.edu.

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