In an attempt to understand the postsecondary and occupational pathways of minorities who choose to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) pathways, what this paper offers is an examination of literature that focuses on identity. More specifically, this paper aims to present a research argument that highlights the importance of self-efficacy as it relates to the creation of a science identity for minority students. The authors, in other words, posit that self-efficacy, particularly as it relates to the cultivation of a science identity remains a critical and under-examined component of the STEM success puzzle for underrepresented students.
The conceptual framework used for this paper is taken from two bodies of literature that are used to provide a deeper understanding of the relationship between self-efficacy and science identity – self-efficacy, is grounded in social cognitive theory which posits that achievement is rooted in the bidirectional interaction between behavior, personal factors (e.g. cognitive, affective and biological) and external environment (Bandura, 1986).
Developing an understanding of the science identity development for students of color is essential because it helps construct a connection to the belief that science has value and that the student is capable to engage in the sciences successfully.
This analysis widens the scholarly discussion on STEM success for students of color to be inclusive of the critical role that the cultivation of a STEM identity plays in their transition from students at a collegiate level to professionals at a workforce capacity.
Flowers III, A.M. and Banda, R. (2016), "Cultivating science identity through sources of self-efficacy", Journal for Multicultural Education, Vol. 10 No. 3, pp. 405-417. https://doi.org/10.1108/JME-01-2016-0014
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