Universal Journal of Educational Research Vol. 6(11), pp. 2492 - 2497
DOI: 10.13189/ujer.2018.061113
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Examining Reasons behind High School Students' Decisions to Enroll in Physics Courses

Hui-Yiing Chang 1,*, Jessica Nicole Kohler 2, Jordan Elizabeth Ard 3, Clausell Mathis 4
1 Division of Science, Mathematics and Engineering, University of South Carolina Sumter, United States
2 Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of South Carolina Columbia, United States
3 Department of Biological Sciences, University of South Carolina Columbia, United States
4 School of Teacher Education, Florida State University, Tallahassee, United States


High school physics enrollment in the United States of America is low compared to other science disciplines. Since physics is a requirement for most STEM related degrees, not having experience in this discipline in high school can affect how well a student adjusts to science related majors during college. Taking physics during high school benefits students because it gives them the fundamental conceptual knowledge for science and engineering. However, data obtained from a study by Heitin shows that two out of five high schools in the U.S [1] do not offer physics. This is of great concern, because with the recent push for a more scientifically literate population through many STEM initiatives around the country, increasing the number of students who enroll in high school physics courses is of paramount importance. This study aimed to explore factors related to high school students’ decisions regarding enrolling in physics courses. Data for this study were gathered by an electronic survey of high school seniors in a select district in the Southeastern U.S. The findings were explored to identify ways to increase enrollment in physics courses within the district. Results suggest that external factors such as family structure, employment outside school, peer support, future plans for after high school, and academic influences such as guidance counseling influenced students’ decision to take physics during high school. The findings of the study implicates there needs to be more effort from personnel in school districts such as school administrators and guidance counselors to encourage more students to enroll in physics courses while in high school.

Physics, Enrollment, High School

Cite this paper
Hui-Yiing Chang , Jessica Nicole Kohler , Jordan Elizabeth Ard , Clausell Mathis . "Examining Reasons behind High School Students' Decisions to Enroll in Physics Courses." Universal Journal of Educational Research 6.11 (2018) 2492 - 2497. doi: 10.13189/ujer.2018.061113.