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Factors that Influence High School Female Students’ Intentions to Pursue Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education in Malaysia

M Sultana Alam, Sadia Sajid, Jin Kuan Kok, Mobashar Rahman and Aamir Amin

Pertanika Journal of Social Science and Humanities, Volume 29, Issue 2, June 2021

DOI: https://doi.org/10.47836/pjssh.29.2.06

Keywords: Female, intention, Malaysia, self-efficacy, STEM

Published on: 28 June 2021

Despite the increase in the number of female students in education indicating a reversal in the gender gap, their participation in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education in Malaysia is still a matter of concern. This study extends empirical explanations for this gender gap and identifies factors influencing high school students’ intentions to pursue Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education in Malaysia. The present study aims to develop a framework of female intention to pursue STEM education by examining the impact of five independent variables on STEM self-efficacy and in turn the impact of self-efficacy on intention. The independent variables include attitude towards STEM, self-concept, gender stereotype, motivation, and teacher stereotypes. The study also examines the independent and moderating impact of career outcome expectancy on the relationship between self-efficacy and intention. Data was collected from 211 secondary school female students in Forms 4 and 5, studying at eight secondary schools in two states in Malaysia. The data was analyzed using SmartPLS. The results of the study show that attitude, motivation, and career outcome expectancy are positive and are significant predictors of STEM self-efficacy, whereas gender and teacher stereotypes are the negative predictors. The results of the study also highlight that self-efficacy is a strong predictor of intention to pursue STEM education. These findings of the study would assist policymakers to develop suitable strategies to improve female participation in STEM education in Malaysia.

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