This research reports on the results of two studies which found that mathematically talented students who had had greater exposure to accelerated, enriched, and individualized STEM learning opportunities achieved more significant STEM accomplishments later in life than their matched counterparts. Notable accomplishments were designated as achieving STEM careers, STEM PhDs, STEM tenure, STEM publications, and STEM patents. The researchers found this relationship to hold true even when controlling for high levels of motivation. Furthermore, the research found that experiences that were more individualized (such as participating in STEM contests or working on inventions, as opposed to attending Advanced Placement (AP) courses) had a greater correlation with notable STEM accomplishments. An important implication from these findings for ISE educators is the need to ensure that students have access to a wide spectrum of enriching and accelerated learning opportunities, and, in particular, that opportunities include those that are individualized.
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