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Talking About Leaving: Why Undergraduates Leave The Sciences Hardcover

ISBN-13: 978-0813389264 ISBN-10: 0813389267

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Westview Press (November 4, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813389267
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813389264
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.8 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,835,237 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

Elaine Seymour is a sociologists at the Bureau of Sociological Research, the University of Colorado at Boulder.

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44 of 45 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 2, 1999
Format: Hardcover
The authors interviewed hundreds of college students whose high-school SAT math scores were at least 650 and who started their college careers in natural science, mathematics or engineering.
The interviewees were selected randomly for the authors by the participating colleges and universities, from a much larger pool of students whose academic profiles matched the authors' research design.
In accordance with this research design, approximately half of those interviewed had switched majors out of science-math-engineering (SME) programs by their senior years. The other half of those interviewed were still SME majors as seniors, and planned to graduate with a degree in natural science, mathematics or engineering.
Both groups of students voiced serious criticism of the deliberately competitive, grade on a curve, "overwhelm them and weed them out" approach that is widely used in teaching freshman and sophomore courses in SME-track curricula, particularly calculus, physics and organic chemistry.
The authors found it very difficult to predict which students had switched out of SME-track majors and which had stayed using any of the stay-vs-switch criteria commonly cited by SME faculty members, which include native ability, willingness to work hard, college grades, gender, ethnic background, and high-school preparation for college-level work in the sciences.
Rather, they found that the chief distinguishing characteristic of those who did not switch was the individuals' willingness to put up with the mental and emotional abuse heaped upon them by this "drinking from a fire hose" approach to instruction in their freshman and sophomore years.
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8 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 22, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This book documents the tragic exit of great talents from the natural sciences that results when overdriven undergraduates lose sight of the fun and sense of wonder that are at the heart of the most successful scientific careers.
Making "Feynman's Lost Lecture: The Motion of Planets Around the Sun" (David and Judith Goodstein, 1996) and "Anno's Mysterious Multiplying Jar" part of the required reading list for all entering freshmen--and giving them the chance to discuss these books with lively professors who have managed to retain their own Feynmanesque senses of fun and wonder--would be a helpful antidote for this.
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