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Math intensive STEM courses at university have very high dropout rates. In this video, DARIA BENDEN explores some of the factors that underlie this. Conducting a longitudinal study, Benden identifies a sharp motivational drop in the very early days (weeks 2-3) of students’ transition to post secondary education in math intensive STEM fields. She notes that motivation remains stable after this initial shock which tends to coincide with the first feedback received. Benden shows that these initial declines in motivation have a clear impact on exam performance and dropout rates and she encourages further work on how feedback is delivered in order to address the issue.


Daria Benden has recently completed her doctoral research in educational psychology in the Center for Research on Education and School Development at TU Dortmund University. She has previously pursued her studies at the Bonn Centre for Teacher Education. Benden’s main research interests include motivational trajectories and educational and occupational choices in the STEM domain. Her most recent publications have appeared in Science Direct and the Journal of Educational Psychology.


Center for Research on Education and School Development (IFS)

Dortmund, Germany

The Center for Research on Education and School Development (IFS) at the TU Dortmund University is committed to all areas of education research – from the description, explanation, and improvement of the organization and management of schools and the school system, to the analysis of educational processes and educational outcomes of students of different age groups in different contexts. Not limited to students, the research takes into account parents, teachers, school administration, and institutional frameworks. A special focus is research into the reform and development processes of schools and the school system, as well as the necessary conditions for these processes and their outcomes.

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Original publication

Students’ motivational trajectories and academic success in math-intensive study programs: Why short-term motivational assessments matter.

Benden Daria K and Lauermann Fani
Published in 2022

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