National Academies Press: OpenBook

Minority Access to Research Careers: An Evaluation of the Honors Undergraduate Research Training Program (1985)

Chapter: Bachelors Degrees Awarded in the Biological Sciences: Program and Nonprogram Schools

« Previous: Survey of Former MARC Honors Trainees
Suggested Citation:"Bachelors Degrees Awarded in the Biological Sciences: Program and Nonprogram Schools." Institute of Medicine. 1985. Minority Access to Research Careers: An Evaluation of the Honors Undergraduate Research Training Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18471.
×
Page 53
Suggested Citation:"Bachelors Degrees Awarded in the Biological Sciences: Program and Nonprogram Schools." Institute of Medicine. 1985. Minority Access to Research Careers: An Evaluation of the Honors Undergraduate Research Training Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18471.
×
Page 54
Suggested Citation:"Bachelors Degrees Awarded in the Biological Sciences: Program and Nonprogram Schools." Institute of Medicine. 1985. Minority Access to Research Careers: An Evaluation of the Honors Undergraduate Research Training Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18471.
×
Page 55
Suggested Citation:"Bachelors Degrees Awarded in the Biological Sciences: Program and Nonprogram Schools." Institute of Medicine. 1985. Minority Access to Research Careers: An Evaluation of the Honors Undergraduate Research Training Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18471.
×
Page 56
Suggested Citation:"Bachelors Degrees Awarded in the Biological Sciences: Program and Nonprogram Schools." Institute of Medicine. 1985. Minority Access to Research Careers: An Evaluation of the Honors Undergraduate Research Training Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18471.
×
Page 57
Suggested Citation:"Bachelors Degrees Awarded in the Biological Sciences: Program and Nonprogram Schools." Institute of Medicine. 1985. Minority Access to Research Careers: An Evaluation of the Honors Undergraduate Research Training Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18471.
×
Page 58
Suggested Citation:"Bachelors Degrees Awarded in the Biological Sciences: Program and Nonprogram Schools." Institute of Medicine. 1985. Minority Access to Research Careers: An Evaluation of the Honors Undergraduate Research Training Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18471.
×
Page 59
Suggested Citation:"Bachelors Degrees Awarded in the Biological Sciences: Program and Nonprogram Schools." Institute of Medicine. 1985. Minority Access to Research Careers: An Evaluation of the Honors Undergraduate Research Training Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18471.
×
Page 60
Suggested Citation:"Bachelors Degrees Awarded in the Biological Sciences: Program and Nonprogram Schools." Institute of Medicine. 1985. Minority Access to Research Careers: An Evaluation of the Honors Undergraduate Research Training Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18471.
×
Page 61
Suggested Citation:"Bachelors Degrees Awarded in the Biological Sciences: Program and Nonprogram Schools." Institute of Medicine. 1985. Minority Access to Research Careers: An Evaluation of the Honors Undergraduate Research Training Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18471.
×
Page 62
Suggested Citation:"Bachelors Degrees Awarded in the Biological Sciences: Program and Nonprogram Schools." Institute of Medicine. 1985. Minority Access to Research Careers: An Evaluation of the Honors Undergraduate Research Training Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18471.
×
Page 63
Suggested Citation:"Bachelors Degrees Awarded in the Biological Sciences: Program and Nonprogram Schools." Institute of Medicine. 1985. Minority Access to Research Careers: An Evaluation of the Honors Undergraduate Research Training Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18471.
×
Page 64
Suggested Citation:"Bachelors Degrees Awarded in the Biological Sciences: Program and Nonprogram Schools." Institute of Medicine. 1985. Minority Access to Research Careers: An Evaluation of the Honors Undergraduate Research Training Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18471.
×
Page 65
Suggested Citation:"Bachelors Degrees Awarded in the Biological Sciences: Program and Nonprogram Schools." Institute of Medicine. 1985. Minority Access to Research Careers: An Evaluation of the Honors Undergraduate Research Training Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18471.
×
Page 66
Suggested Citation:"Bachelors Degrees Awarded in the Biological Sciences: Program and Nonprogram Schools." Institute of Medicine. 1985. Minority Access to Research Careers: An Evaluation of the Honors Undergraduate Research Training Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18471.
×
Page 67
Suggested Citation:"Bachelors Degrees Awarded in the Biological Sciences: Program and Nonprogram Schools." Institute of Medicine. 1985. Minority Access to Research Careers: An Evaluation of the Honors Undergraduate Research Training Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18471.
×
Page 68

Below is the uncorrected machine-read text of this chapter, intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text of each book. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

6. BACHELOR'S DEGREES AWARDED IN THE BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES: PROGRAM AND NONPROGRAM SCHOOLS The percentages of bachelor's degrees earned in the biological sciences at program and nonprogram schools were examined over time to assess the institutional impact of the MARC Honors and MBRS programs. At program schools, the percentage of biological science majors increased—especially among minority students. National trenas showed no such increase for minority students and decreasing percentages for nonminority students. The higher rates at the MARC and MBRS schools remained when other institutional characteristics were taken into consideration. Two programs funded by the National Institutes of Health seek to increase the involvement of minority undergraduate students in biomedical research: the Minority Biomedical Research Support (MBRS) program initiated in l972 and the Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) Honors Undergraduate program initiated in l977. Both provide financial support for minority undergraduate students, and both involve them directly in research projects. Undergraduate students participate in MBRS as employees on faculty research projects and are paid on an hourly basis. The MARC Honors Undergraduate Research Training program is smaller and more selective than MBRS. MARC Honors undergraduate trainees must be honor students with grade point averages of 3.0 or better. They receive stipends and participate in a specially designed curricula and research training activities. The expectation is that this exposure will increase the students' awareness of research careers and will enhance their ability to pursue these careers. Data presented in the preceding two chapters suggest that this expectation is realized in the case of the MARC Honors program. In addition to enhancing the research awareness and the research skills of the funded students, both programs have broader, institu- tional goals. One objective of the MARC Honors program is to improve undergraduate science curricula; the MBRS program seeks to strengthen the schools' biomedical research capability. These qualitative, institutional objectives are more difficult to assess than individual achievements. 53

54 Some insight into these institutional objectives may be obtained indirectly. Improved curricula and strengthened research capabilities might increase student interest in the biomedical sciences. An expanded level of laboratory research may result in a more dynamic science environment and also heighten students' enthusiasm for science. This interest and enthusiasm might be reflected by an increase in biological science majors. In this chapter, changes over time in the rate at which students earn bachelor's degrees in the biological sciences are examined. Institutions with and without MARC Honors and MBRS programs are compared in an examination of the programs' institutional impacts. Data The basic data on bachelor's degrees come from the Survey of Degrees and Other Formal Awards Conferred conducted by the Department of Education. This survey is part of the Higher Education General Information Survey (HEGIS). Data on race are available only since l976. However, for l974, comparable data are available from a sample survey sponsored by the Higher Education Panel (HEP) of the American Council on EducationJ Degrees Conferred in the Biological Sciences The percentage of bachelor's degrees awarded to students majoring in the biological sciences rose in the early l970s and declined in the late l970s. In l973, 4.6 percent of the bachelor's degrees earned were in the biological sciences. This percentage rose to 5.4 in l974 and rose again to 5.8 in 1976 (Figure 6.l). The percentage remained at 5.8 in l977 and began to drop in 1979. By l98l, 4.7 percent of all bachelor's degrees were awarded to students majoring in the biological sciences. Almost all of the decline was due to shifts among nonHispanic white students.2 In l976, 6 percent of all the bachelor's degrees earned by whites were in the biological sciences (Table 6.1). The level declined in all subsequent survey years, reaching 4.7 percent in l98l. There has been no such decline for the minority groups. For blacks and Hispanics, the percentage of bachelor's degrees earned in biology in 197l was similar to the l976 level. In l974, 3.7 percent of all bachelor's degrees earned by blacks were in the biological sciences. The fraction rose slightly in l976 and l977, remained stable in l979, and then dropped back near to its original level in l98l. There was a similar curvilinear pattern among Hispanics from l976 to l98l. characteristics of the HEP survey and its correspondence to the HEGIS data are outlined in the following publication: Frank J. Atelsek and Irene L. Gomberg. Bachelor's Degrees Awarded to Minority. Students l973-74. ~~" 2This group will be referred to as "white students."

55 o oc. 7.0 6.0 5.0 4.0 3.0 Hispanic 0.0 74 76 77 79 YEAR 81 FIGURE 6.1 Percentage of all bachelor's degrees that were awarded in the biological sciences, by race, 1974-81. See Table 6.1 for supporting data.

56 TABLE 6.l Percentage of All Bachelor's Degrees That Were Awarded in the Biological Sciences, by Institution Type and Race of Graduate, l973-l98la Institution Type/ Race of Graduate Year Total l973 l974 l976 l977 l979 l98l ~~BTack 3.7 3.8 4.1 4.l 3.7 Hispanic 4.4 5.7 5.8 6.l 5.9 White6 6.0 5.9 5.3 4.6 Total0 4.6 5.4 5.9 5.8 5.3 4.7 Predominantly Black Institution Black 4.5 4.3 4.8 5.2 4.5 Hispanic 4.4 3.5 9.5 4.7 Whiteb 4.0 2.3 2.8 3.0 Total0 4.3 4.4 4.9 5.3 4.5 Predominantly White Institut i on Black 3.l 3.6 3.7 3.6 3.3 Hispanic 5.7 5.8 6.l 5.9 Whiteb 6.0 5.9 5.3 4.6 Total0 5.4 5.9 5.9 5.3 4.7 MARC Honors Black 4.l 4.9 5.l 4.8 Hispanic White6 7.2 6.4 6.8 8.2 6.4 8.4 5.8 6.7 Total0 5.8 6.0 6.2 5.7 MBRS Black 3.9 4.4 5.0 4.5 Hispanic Whiteb 6.9 5.8 6.5 6.l 7.9 5.8 7.4 5.2 Total0 5.3 5.5 5.9 5.3 aData in l974 are from HEP sample survey; all other data are population totals from HEGIS. bThis category excludes all those of Hispanic ethnicity. °Totals include smaller ethnic groups not shown separately. SOURCES: Atelsek and Gomberg, l977; U.S. Department of Education, HEGIS Survey of Degrees and Other Formal Awards Conferred.

57 The rate at which students majored in the biological sciences varied substantially by type of institution. Black students attending predominantly black institutions were more likely to be biological science majors than were black students attending other types of institutions.3 Similar findings are reported by Atelsek and Gomberg (l977) in their study of bachelor's degrees awarded in the l973-74 school year. White students were more likely to be biology majors in predominantly white institutions and less likely to be biology majors in predominantly black institutions. Hispanics were also less likely to be biology majors in predominantly black schools. This suggests that a group's numerical dominance in an institution was related to its likelihood of majoring in the biological sciences. Blacks and whites were more likely to be biology majors when they were numerically predominant in a school. MARC Honors ana MBRS Schools The MARC Honors and MBRS programs were designed for institutions that have enrollments drawn substantially from minority populations. As a result, there is an overlap between predominantly black schools, MARC Honors schools, and MBRS schools. A listing of schools with MBRS or MARC Honors programs operating in l98l^ is presented in Appendix F. For blacks, there was a net gain in the percentage of biology majors at MARC Honors and MBRS schools in the l976 to l98l period. This was in contrast to the percentages for all black students (in all schools) which showed no net change from l976 to l98l. Nationwide, 3.8 percent of all bachelor's degrees earned by blacks in l976 were in the biological sciences (Table 6.l). At MBRS schools the rate was the same; at MARC Honors program schools it was just slightly higher. During the next few years, the proportion of biology degrees earned by blacks rose dramatically in MARC Honors and MBRS institutions. In l98l, there was a decline in biology majors at all types of schools. However, among black students in MARC Honors and MBRS institutions, the gains of the late l970s were not erased. At MARC Honors schools, 4.8 percent of the degrees earned by blacks in l98l were in the biological sciences. At MBRS schools, the percentage was 4.4. In both cases, the rate exceeded the national average for all black graduates (3.7 percent). The rate at which Hispanic students majored in biology at MBRS and MARC Honors schools also exceeded the national average for Hispanics. The percentage of Hispanic biology majors increased from l976 to 198l at program and nonprogram schools, but the increase was larger at program schools. In MARC Honors schools, the percentage of Hispanics 3See Appendix E for list of predominantly black institutions. 4Since l98l is the most recent year of degree data, schools joining MARC and MBRS after l980 are not counted as program participants in this portion of the study.

58 earning degrees in biology rose from 7.2 percent in l976 to 8.4 percent in l98l. In MBRS schools, 6.9 percent of the Hispanic degrees in l976 went to biology majors. In l98l, this percentage rose to 7.4. The national average for Hispanics during this same period rose from 5.7 to 5.9 percent. Program Cohorts Gradual implementation and expansion have been important character- istics of the MARC and MBRS programs. The earliest MARC Honors programs were funded in l977 and the first MARC Honors trainees graduated in the spring of l978. Presentations combining data for all program schools for the l976 to l98l period run the risk of confounding preprogram and postprogram effects. A more rigorous test of program impact requires the examination of schools grouped by year of initial funding. Table 6.2 presents this data for MBRS schools. The data cover the crucial period of MBRS growth, l972 through l975. Program growth slowed after l975. The few schools that received their initial MBRS funding after l975 tended to be institutions with small enrollments, and there were insufficient cases to support analyses for these schools. The largest and most consistent gains were found among the black graduates. In the MBRS institutions first funded in l972 and l973, the percentages of black biology majors rose and then fell, following the general pattern observed for blacks in all U.S. schools. Among the 1974 and l975 schools, the increase continued uninterrupted (with the exception of one year, l977, for the l975 grantees). From l976 to l981, all groups of MBRS schools had net increases in the proportion of black students majoring in the biological sciences. This is in contrast to national averages for black students which fell from 3.8 percent in l976 to 3.7 percent in l98l. Hispanic students show a much more varied pattern when observed by program cohorts. In the institutions first funded in l972, the proportion of Hispanics majoring in the biological sciences dropped steadily from l976 to l98l. The opposite pattern occurred among the l973 grantees. Among the l974 and the l975 grantees, the percentage of Hispanics majoring in the biological sciences rose and then declined. Hispanics showed smaller and less consistent gains at MBRS schools than did blacks. However, Hispanics at MBRS schools were more likely than blacks to major in biology. Perhaps the most striking feature of the Hispanic data was the extremely high percentage of l98l biology graduates in the l973 grantee institutions—over l0 percent. The l973 schools included the University of Albuquerque and the University of Puerto Rico, two schools that draw students from large "established" Hispanic communities. Consistent with the earlier observations about blacks and whites, Hispanics are more likely to be biology majors in schools where they are numerically predominant.

59 TABLE 6.2 Percentage of All Bachelor's Degrees That Were Awarded in the Biological Sciences at MBRS Schools, by Year of Initial Grant to Institution and Race/Ethnicity of Graduate Year of Initial Grant to Institution/Race of Graduate Year of Degree l972 l976 l977 l979 198l Black 4.2 4.9 5.3 4.8 Hispanic 7.9 6.6 6.7 5.7 Whitea 5.9 4.6 4.0 3.2 Totalb 5.0 5.4 5.5 4.7 l973 Black 3.3 4.2 5.5 3.7 Hispanic 7.2 6.7 9.6 l0.l Whitea 3.6 4.8 4.7 4.9 Totalb 4.9 5.3 6.7 6.3 l974 Black 4.6 5.0 5.l 5.2 Hispanic 7.9 9.5 8.9 6.9 Whitea 3.9 4.8 3.7 3.l Totalb 5.4 5.3 5.1 4.4 l975 Black 3.0 0.8 4.4 5.2 Hispanic 5.0 4.8 6.3 5.l Whitea l0.3 l0.7 9.6 8.6 Totalb 8.7 9.0 9.0 7.9 aThis category excludes all those of Hispanic ethnicity. bTotals include smaller ethnic groups not shown separately. SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, HEGIS Survey of Degrees and Other Formal Awards Conferred.

60 For the MARC Honors program schools, grouping institutions by year of first funding did not eliminate the gains reported in Table 6.l. In each of the first three cohorts there were increases in the percentage of black biology majors subsequent to the initiation of the MARC Honors program (Table 6.3). Among the l977 grant recipients, the rising percentage of black biology majors from l977 to 1979 occurred following the establishment of the MARC Honors program. An even larger growth in the percentage of black biology majors was found in the l978 cohort of institutions. Some of this l977 to l979 change may have been due to the impact of the MARC Honors program. The 1979 grant recipient schools had an increase in black biology majors during the l979 to l98l period. The increases in the percentage of Hispanics majoring in the biological sciences also remained when the schools were grouped by year of initial MARC Honors funding. For the l977 schools, increases in the percentage of Hispanics earning biology degrees in l979 could have been partly due to program effects. The same holds for l978 grant recipients in l979 and l98l. There were no Hispanic students in the l979 grantee institutions. The l980 grantees had a very large number of Hispanic students. New MARC Honors grants were awarded to l3 schools in l980 including several schools with large or predominant Hispanic populations (Catholic University of Puerto Rico, University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras, and University of Texas, San Antonio). In this group of schools, the extremely high proportion of biology majors among Hispanics is consistent with the previously observed positive correlation between ethnic representation and earned degrees in the biological sciences. The impact of the MARC Honors program could have been partially responsible for the increase in the proportion of Hispanic biology majors in these schools between 1979 and l98l. In summary, the data from the MARC Honors program schools suggest the possibility of positive program impact on the percentage of earned degrees in the biological sciences. During the period that the MARC programs were in operation, the percentage of students majoring in the biological sciences increased at MARC Honors schools for both blacks and Hispanics. The gains were smaller than those found for the MBRS program, but these differences between program effects are entirely consistent with the longer history, broader mission, and greater size of MBRS. Alternative Hypotheses The data in the preceding section indicate that the percentage of black students earning bachelor's degrees in the biological sciences increased at MBRS schools and that the percentage of black and Hispanic students earning biology degrees increased at MARC Honors program schools. These findings are consistent and suggest the operation of direct program effects. However, other causes could be responsible for the observed associations. In l976, before the MARC Honors program began, schools that would later receive MARC Honors grants were above the national average in their percentage of black, Hispanic, and white students earning degrees

61 TABLE 6.3 Percentage of All Bachelor's Degrees in the Biological Sciences at MARC Honors Program Schools, by Year of Initial Grant to Institution and Race/Ethnicity of Graduates Year of Initial Grant to Institution/Race of Graduate Year of Degree l977 l976 l977 l979 l98l Black 4.5 6.0 6.5 6.5 Hispanic Whitea Totalb 2.9 4.6 5.2 2.7 4.5 4.6 4.2 4.4 4.2 3.3 3.9 4.3 l978 Black 5.0 6.2 7.9 7.9 Hispanic Whitea Total5 2.0 4.0 3.9 3.2 5.2 4.6 4.8 5.6 5.3 5.3 5.5 5.0 l979 Black 3.2 2.5 2.3 3.7 Hispanic Whitea Totalb — l.6 2.5 l.7 2.l l.7 3.5 l980 3.2 Black 4.6 5.6 5.8 5.7 Hispanic Whitea Totalb 8.2 6.9 6.6 7.3 8.9 7.3 7.5 l0.0 7.2 7.6 7.3 6.9 aThis category excludes all those of Hispanic ethnicity. ^Totals include smaller ethnic groups not shown separately. SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, HEGIS Survey of Degrees and Other Formal Awards Conferred.

62 in biology (Table 6.l). Comparing MARC Honors institutions, data in Table 6.3 indicate that schools first funded in l977 had higher percentages earning degrees in biology in l976 than did schools receiving initial funding in l978 or l979. In addition to different "starting points", other factors could underlie the relationship between MARC Honors programs and biology majors. Earlier in this chapter it was shown that schools' racial characteristics were related to the rate at which blacks, whites, and Hispanics earned degrees in biology. Astin (l978) found that students attending private colleges were more likely to major in the sciences than students at public colleges. Other school characteristics, e.g., the level of science funding and the presence of a doctoral program on campus, may also be related to the rate at which students earn degrees in biology. Additional Data To better specify the relationship between school characteristics and program outcomes, additional data were obtained. Measures of federal support for science were taken from the l980 Survey of Federal Support to Universities, Colleges, and Selected Nonprofit Institutions conducted by the National Science Foundation (NSF). From several highly correlated items a single measure, the amount of life sciences training support money from all agencies, was selected. It had the highest correlation with proportion of students majoring in biology (r = .09 for l980 funding and l98l graduates). Information on highest degree awarded and type of control (public/private) were also taken from the NSF data file. Institutions that did not award bachelor's degrees in biology were eliminated from the data file. Six schools were also excluded because all of their graduates received degrees in biological sciences. These schools (optometry, podiatry, and chiropractic colleges) were highly specialized institutions and unsuited for comparison with the remaining undergraduate institutions. Further adjustments were necessary for the analysis of racial and ethnic groups. In order to focus on institutional impacts of the MARC and MBkS programs, schools rather than individuals became the unit of analysis. For each school, the percentages of black, Hispanic, and white graduates earning degrees in the biological sciences were calculated by dividing the number of biology graduates from each racial or ethnic group by the total number of graduates from that race or ethnic group. Minority group members are concentrated at a small number of schools, and many institutions have very few minority group members. A change of l biology major in a school with 5 black graduates results in a shift of 20 percentage points. To avoid unrealistic and artificially inflated indicators, only schools with 30 or more graduates from a given race or ethnic group in l976 and 198l were used in this portion of the analysis. This restriction excludes a different number of schools for each ethnic group. For blacks, the number of schools was reduced from l,793 in the original data set to 330 (Table 6.4). Although they were a small percentage of the total number of schools (l8.4 percent), they included over three-fourths of the black students. For Hispanics, the loss of

63 TABLE 6.4 Comparison of Graduation Data from All Undergraduate Institutions and Undergraduate Institutions with 30 or More Graduates from a Given Race/Ethnic Group Race/Ethnicity Percent Number Number Number Biological Sci. of of 1976 of l98l Schools Graduates Graduates (l976) (l98l) Black All Schools Schools with 30 or more Black Graduates Hispanic All Schools Schools with 30 or more Hispanic Graduates l,793 58,385 60,726 3.8 3.7 330 47,157 46,l20 3.9 3.9 l,793 26,ll7 33,l35 5.7 5.9 ll7 20,446 23,34l 6.0 l.7 White All Schools Schools with 30 or more White Graduates l,793 806,l08 807,347 6.0 4.6 l,l47 765,537 757,l44 6.2 4.8 SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, HEGIS Survey of Degrees and Other Formal Awards Conferred.

64 schools was greater than for blacks. Only ll7 schools (6 percent) had 30 or more Hispanic graduates. These schools contained 70 percent of the Hispanic graduates. A few schools were eliminated because they had less than 30 white students. The l,l47 schools with 30 or more white graduates contained over 94 percent of the white graduates in l976 and 1981. Regression Models In the regression models the percentage of l98l graduates earning degrees in the biological sciences was viewed as a function of the l976 percentage and the number of years of MARC Honors or MBRS program funding prior to l98l. Regressing the l98l percentage on the l976 percentage and the MARC Honors or MBRS indicators (MARC-YRS or MBRS-YRS) revealed the impact of a year of program funding on the l98l percentages after the 1976 level was control led.5 The results for the MARC Honors program are summarized in Model l of Table 6.5.^ The percentage of black graduates earning degrees in the biological sciences rose by nearly one percentage point for each year that the institution was in the MARC Honors program. The effect was somewhat smaller for Hispanics. White students at MARC Honors program schools were also more likely to major in the biological sciences than white students at nonMARC schools. The increment was small (.25 for each year of MARC funding), but in the same direction as that for the black and Hispanic students. These gains suggest an institutional impact of the MARC Honors program. In schools with MBRS programs there was also a rise in the percentage of biological science majors (Model 2, Table 6.5). Each year of MBRS funding raised the level of black biology majors by .l7 percentage points. For Hispanics and whites, there was no measured effect of the MBRS programs on the percentage of bachelor's degrees earned in the biological sciences.7 5The models can be expressed in the following form: PCTBI08l = a +bi (PCTBI076) + b2 (MARC-YRS) and PCTBI08l = a +b] (PCTBI076) + b2 (MBRS-YRS). 6Tests of statistical significance are not discussed because the regression coefficients are population parameters and not sample estimates. 7There are substantive as well as statistical reasons why it would be a mistake to use these findings to contrast the effectiveness of the two programs. Almost all MARC Honors programs are at institutions with MBRS programs, and interviews with MARC Honors program directors repeatedly emphasize how MARC Honors programs are built upon MBRS resources. (See Chapter 4 for a discussion of the program interrelationship.) The MBRS programs are, on the average, older than the MARC Honors programs, and the years of observation (l976 and l98l) represent different points in the life cycle of the two programs.

65 TABLE 6.5 Regression Equations Measuring the Impact of MARC Honors and MBRS Programs on the Percentage of Bachelor's Degrees Earned in the Biological Sciences in 1981 Regression Weight so Model Black Hispanic White MODEL 1: Intercept 1.537 1.017 1.094 PCTBI076b (.258) .540 (.541) .833 (.148) .659 (.044) (.070) (.018) MARC-YRS .943 .440 .247 (.208) (.545) (.332) R2 .349 .552 .531 N 329 ll6 1,146 MODEL 2: Intercept 1.488 1.159 1.104 PCTBI076b (.270) .539 (.541) .833 (.148) .659 (.045) (.071) (.018) MBRS-YRS .174 -.066 -.022 (.057) (.137) (.081) R2 .327 .551 .531 N 329 ll6 1,146 MODEL 3: Intercept .759 .556 -.484 PCTBI076b (.443) .466 (.851) .712 (.682) .649 (.047) (.073) (.019) MARC-YRS .736 .564 .461 (.221) (.522) (.334) DEGTOT8 .0001 -.0001 -.0003 (.0002) (.0003) (.0001 ALLBIOT81 .0007 .0009 .0001 (.0002) (.0003) (.0002 DOC80 .309 1.697 -.147 (.449) (.857) (.270) PRIVAT80 .487 .056 .226 (.439) (.871) (.204) RELSIZEb .018 .016 .019 (.006) (.013) (.007) R2 .392 .617 .541 N 329 ll6 1,146 aStandard errors are in parentheses. bFor each race or ethnic group (black, Hispanic and white), the corresponding percentage was used. SOURCES: U.S. Department of Education, HEGIS Survey of Degrees, Other Formal Awards Conferred; National Science Foundation, Survey of Federal Support to Universities, Colleges, and Selected Nonprofit Institutions.

66 The benefits attributed to MARC Honors programs by Model l may be due to other factors. In Model 3, the regression equation used in Model l was expanded to include the following indicators as predictors of the percentage of graduates earning degrees in the biological sciences: total number of degrees granted in l98l (DEGTOT8l); federal biological sciences training funds in l980 (ALLBIOT8); the existence of doctoral programs in l980 (DOC80); and private control (PRIVAT80). A measure of each race or ethnic group's relative size in the student population (RELSIZE) was also included. Adding these institutional characteristics to the regression model did little to alter the conclusions about the impact of the MARC Honors program. Each year of MARC Honors funding was associated with a rise of .74 percentage points in the rate at which black students earn biology degrees. Only a small amount of the effect of the MARC Honors program found in Model l was mediated by the other school characteristics. The results for Hispanics were quite similar to those for blacks. Every additional year of MARC Honors funding raised the level of Hispanic degrees in the biological sciences by just over one-half a percentage point. Among whites, the effect of the MARC Honors program was smaller than for blacks or Hispanics. Still, every additional year of MARC Honors funding raised the level of white degrees earned in the biological sciences by nearly one-half a percentage point. A final test of the impact of the MARC Honors program was made by examining the relationship between program size and the percentage of degrees earned in the biological sciences. If there is a direct impact of the programs (rather than a spurious association due to some other institutional characteristic), then the size of the MARC Honors program should have a positive relationship with its impact on campus. A regression equation replacing the number of years of MARC funding (MARC-YRS) with the number of MARC Honors trainees graduating in l98l (MARC8lG) is presented in Table 6.6 (Model 1). Because only schools with MARC Honors programs were examined, the number of cases dropped dramatically. The size of the MARC Honors program was clearly related to the percentage of bachelor's degrees earned in the biological sciences. Every additional MARC Honors trainee graduating in l98l was associated with an increase of one-half point in the percentage of blacks earning bachelor's degrees in the biological sciences." The increase for Hispanics was much greater (2.6 percentage points) while the increase for whites was less (under .2 of a percentage point per graduate). The positive relationship between MARC Honors program size and the rate at which students major in the biological sciences did not disappear when other school characteristics were added to the 8The relationship may strike the reader as tautological. However, since MARC Honors students are recruited as junior or senior level majors in the biological sciences, the program does not have to increase the number of majors.

67 TABLE 6.6 Regression Equations Measuring the Impact of MARC Honors Program Size on the Percentage of Bachelor's Degrees Earned in the Biological Sciences in l98l Regression Weightsa Model Black Hispanic White MODEL l: Intercept l.l02 -7.l36 l.230 PCTBl076b (l.835) (2.22l) .883 l.33l (2.751) .669 (.295) (.l96) (.324) MARC8lG .548 2.64l .l75 (.455) (.562) (.743) R2 .326 .9l2 .485 N 28 7 8 MODEL 2: Intercept -.025 (6.l26) PCTBl0766 .809 (.367) MARC8lG .925 (.5l7) DEGTOT8l -.000l (.003) ALLBIOT8 -.020 (.024) DOC80 l6.l7l (10.564) PRIVAT80 .840 (2.355) RELSIZEb .0l6 (.56) R2 .476 N 28 aStandard errors are in parentheses. bFor each race or ethnic group (black, Hispanic, and white), the corresponding percentage was used. SOURCES: U.S. Department of Education, HEGIS Survey of Degrees, Other Formal Awards Conferred; National Science Foundation, Survey of Federal Support to Universities, Colleges, and Selected Nonprofit Institutions.

68 regression equations (Table 6.6, Model 29). When the effects of school size, biological science training funds, doctoral programs, private control, and percentage black were controlled, an increase of one MARC Honors trainee was associated with nearly a one point increase in the percentage of students earning degrees in the biological sciences. Summary Nationwide, the percentage of white students earning degrees in the biological sciences has decreased, while the percentage of minority group members earning degrees in the biological sciences has remained at the same level. The percentage of biological science majors has increased among minority students at MARC Honors and MBRS institutions. Both the length and size of the programs were associated with higher rates of degrees earned in the biological sciences. These gains were broad, often extending beyond the minority students who were the targets of the programs. These differences between program and nonprogram schools remained even after the impact of other institutional characteristics was taken into consideration. 9Because of the small number of MARC Honors schools with 30 or more Hispanic or white graduates in both l976 and l98l, this equation was not calculated for Hispanics or whites.

Next: REFERENCES »
Minority Access to Research Careers: An Evaluation of the Honors Undergraduate Research Training Program Get This Book
×
MyNAP members save 10% online.
Login or Register to save!
Download Free PDF
  1. ×

    Welcome to OpenBook!

    You're looking at OpenBook, NAP.edu's online reading room since 1999. Based on feedback from you, our users, we've made some improvements that make it easier than ever to read thousands of publications on our website.

    Do you want to take a quick tour of the OpenBook's features?

    No Thanks Take a Tour »
  2. ×

    Show this book's table of contents, where you can jump to any chapter by name.

    « Back Next »
  3. ×

    ...or use these buttons to go back to the previous chapter or skip to the next one.

    « Back Next »
  4. ×

    Jump up to the previous page or down to the next one. Also, you can type in a page number and press Enter to go directly to that page in the book.

    « Back Next »
  5. ×

    To search the entire text of this book, type in your search term here and press Enter.

    « Back Next »
  6. ×

    Share a link to this book page on your preferred social network or via email.

    « Back Next »
  7. ×

    View our suggested citation for this chapter.

    « Back Next »
  8. ×

    Ready to take your reading offline? Click here to buy this book in print or download it as a free PDF, if available.

    « Back Next »
Stay Connected!