The fiercely competitive atmosphere in introductory courses is said to cause more females than males to drop out of science
WASHINGTON--College professors are too eager to weed out students enrolled in introductory science classes, say two sociologists from the University of Colorado, Boulder. And women, disproportionately more than men, appear to fall victim to the rigid practice. Thus, the sociologists say, many women are abandoning their interest in pursuing careers in science not because they can't do the work, but because they have been prematurely discouraged. Science faculty "have developed the dysfunction of over- pruning," write Nancy M. Hewitt and Elaine Seymour, researchers who recently completed a study of why science students switch to nonscience majors. They presented the results of their study in a recent report to the New York- based Alfred P. Sloan Foundation entitled "Factors Contributing to High Attrition Rates Among Science and Engineering Undergraduate Majors."


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