Developmental Trajectories of Science Identity Beliefs: Within-Group Differences among Black, Latinx, Asian, and White Students

Puente et al. / Journal of Youth and Adolescence / September 2021

Though adolescents’ science identity beliefs predict positive STEM outcomes, researchers have yet to examine developmental differences within racial/ethnic groups despite theoretical arguments for such studies. The current study examined science identity trajectories for Black (14%), Latinx (22%), Asian (4%), and White (52%) students (N = 21,170; 50% girls) from 9th grade to three years post-high school and the variability within each racial/ethnic group based on gender and college generational status. Contrary to the literature, students’ science identities increased over time, and the increases were larger for potential first- versus continuing-generation White students. Potential continuing-generation boys had stronger 9th grade science identities than potential first-generation girls in all groups except Asians. The findings suggest who might benefit from additional supports within each racial/ethnic group.