The Effects of Self-Regulation and Recitation on STEM Student Academic Performance



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Background: There is a shortage of students who are retained and persist to graduation in STEM fields and as a result, millions of STEM jobs remain unfilled each year. Four- year institutions have begun to increase the academic quality of STEM gateway courses through supplemental instruction in order to increase retention and graduation rates of STEM majors. However, self-regulation may also play a mediating role in achievement because certain self-regulation strategies have been linked to increases in the academic performance of undergraduate students. Additionally, four-year institutions are targeting certain student groups for these interventions such as first-generation, low-SES, and FTIC. However, transfer students may benefit from these interventions as well. Purpose: This study extends previous research by exploring the role that self-regulation plays in the academic achievement of STEM majors. Specifically, the effects of self-regulation and recitation on STEM student grades and retention. The study also explores these differences in FTIC and transfer student groups. Method: A student survey assessing demographics, self-regulation skills, and recitation status was administered in introductory biology courses. Student achievement (final course grade) was used to evaluate likelihood of future retention. Latent factors of learning and study strategies, obtained from the self-regulation questions on the student survey, were determined using exploratory and confirmatory analyses. Next, structural equation models were run in order to determine: 1) to what extent learning and study strategies mediate the relationship between participation in a recitation class and STEM student achievement and 2) to what extent entrance status influences the relationship between participation in a recitation class, learning and study strategies, and course grade for STEM majors enrolled in introductory biology STEM gateway courses? Results: The results of the study found that when controlling for all other variables, participation in recitation classes had a positive effect on course grade. However, the study found no mediating effects of self-regulation skills. Study results also indicated no difference in the reported levels of self-regulation skills between FTIC and transfer students. Conclusions: Results suggest that four-year institutions should continue: to implement recitation classes for introductory STEM courses in order to impact student grades and future potential for retention; and, provide all students with self-regulation skills training since no differences were found between FTIC and transfer students in their use of self-regulation strategies.



Academic achievement, Retention, Self-regulation, STEM education