Taking Measure of Black Students in STEM Courses

A common stereotype is that African American college students avoid taking courses in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) disciplines. But new data from the U.S. Department of Education shows that nearly 86 percent of African American college students take at least some STEM courses during their college years. This is only slightly lower than the rate for White college students. About 91 percent of White students take STEM courses.

But the news is not all encouraging. Whites, on average, earn more credits in STEM disciplines than Blacks by a margin of 22. 4 to 15.4. Also, Whites perform better academically than Blacks in STEM courses. The average grade point average for White students in STEM courses was 2.7. For Blacks the average GPA in STEM courses was 2.2.

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