English Secondary school students' perceptions of school science and science and engineering.

BEVINS, Stuart, BYRNE, Eleanor, BRODIE, Marilyn and PRICE, Gareth (2011). English Secondary school students' perceptions of school science and science and engineering. Science Education International, 22 (4), 255-265.

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Abstract

Debates about school science, students' engagement with, and participation in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), and the supply of suitably qualified people for STEM related fields have been ongoing in England since the early 20th Century. Recent key policy documents and STEM related organisations have highlighted a skills gap in these fields that, if not addressed, could have significant implications towards the country's economic development and prosperity. A large body of literature exists which contributes to the understanding of why it is that young people opt out of post-compulsory STEM education and STEM related careers. However, even with a large knowledge base and a wide range of initiatives and projects that have been carefully designed with the underpinning aim of attracting more young people to STEM related careers (10 year Science and Innovation Framework-HMT, 2004) there still appears to be a problem. This paper presents data gathered from two studies undertaken by the authors in 2004 and 2010. Key findings from two surveys of school students' perceptions of school science and science and engineering in general, and from follow-up focus group interviews are reported. Data sets from both 2004 and 2010 reveal a large amount of congruence in the students' perceptions. While the majority of participating students state that they enjoy school science they also state that they would not consider study of STEM related subjects beyond compulsory education or a STEM related career. The paper situates key findings within existing literature and argues that there is some way to go before we can begin to piece together the large range of factors which influence student's decisions to opt out of STEM study and careers and to develop a clear and effective strategy for tackling the problem.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Article appears in "Special Issue"
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Centre for Science Education
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Stuart Bevins
Date Deposited: 15 Dec 2011 16:25
Last Modified: 15 Dec 2011 16:25
URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/4131

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