Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis


W.M. Keck Science Department

Second Department


Reader 1

Stephen Naftilan

Reader 2

Nancy S.B. Williams

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© 2014 Pejing Lee


This study explores how racial differences may influence achievement and persistence in physics by using data provided by the Persistence Research in Science and Engineering (PRiSE) project, which surveyed college students throughout the United States about their backgrounds, high school science experiences, and science attitudes. This study draws upon previous studies to first determine the factors that predict achievement and persistence in physics by using hierarchal linear multiple regression analysis. Once statistically significant factors of persistence and achievement were determined, the study determines whether those variables are significantly different among students of determine races.

The study found that race was ultimately not a good predictor of both achievement and persistence in physics; however, this does not necessarily mean that race was an insignificant component. Due to the nature of hierarchal regression analysis, the component of race may have been accounted for in other predictors. However, the analyzed predictors for could not fully account for the variance in either achievement or persistence. This may be due to the limited scope of the PRiSE survey, which did not include socioeconomic factors. The study concludes with a proposal for future research.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.