Friends and family: A literature review on how high school social groups influence advanced math and science coursetaking

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Abstract

In this study, we synthesized the literature on how informal contexts, namely friends and family social groups, shape high school students’ likelihood of pursuing advanced math and science coursework. Extending scholarly understandings of STEM education, we turned to the body of literature with three guiding questions: (1) What influence do friends have on advanced math and science coursetaking? (2) What influence does family, particularly parents, have on advanced math and science coursetaking? (3) Do the effects vary by gender among each social group? By synthesizing existing literature on the influence of family and friends on advanced math and science coursetaking in high school, we find that both friends and families can influence the number of advanced math and science courses students complete, but the amount of advanced coursework students complete also varies based on the gender of the individual student, the gender of his/her friends, as well as by mother or father. Implications and limitations are discussed.

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How to Cite
Gottfried, M., Owens, A., Williams, D., Kim, H. Y., & Musto, M. (2017). Friends and family: A literature review on how high school social groups influence advanced math and science coursetaking. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 25, 62. https://doi.org/10.14507/epaa.25.2857
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Author Biographies

Michael Gottfried, University of California Santa Barbara

Michael Gottfried is an Associate Professor in the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education at the University of California Santa Barbara. His research focuses on the economics of education and education policy.

Ann Owens, University of Southern California

Ann Owens is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Southern California. Her research focuses on contextual inequalities in children's neighborhoods and schools.

Darryl Williams, Tufts University

Darryl Williams is Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education for Tufts School of Engineering. His research focuses on understanding how learning environments influence STEM pursuit and persistence.

Hui Yon Kim, University of California Santa Barbara

Hui Kim is a PhD. Candidate in Education, with a concentration in Quantitative Methods and Education Policy.  Her research interests include early education, teacher quality, and social equity.

Michela Musto, University of Southern California

Michela is a Ph.D. Candidate in sociology and gender studies at the University of Southern California. Her research interests include gender, education, families, children & youth, and social stratification. 

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