University of Cambridge > > Science & Technology Education Research Group ( S &TERG) > STeM Seminar: How can we get more students to study STEM subjects after the age of 16?

STeM Seminar: How can we get more students to study STEM subjects after the age of 16?

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There is a shortage of studies in mathematics and science education that examine student engagement over time and research the reasons for the take up or non take up of mathematics and science once these subjects become optional. In the UPMAP (Understanding Participation rates in post-16 Mathematics And Physics) Project we studied these issues with particular reference to mathematics and physics. Once students are no longer required to do certain subjects, participation depends at least in part on how students see both themselves and the subjects. Each can shift as a result of experiences inside and outside the classroom. In Strand 1 we designed student questionnaires to include items from established psychological constructs alongside validated subject-specific conceptual tasks so that possible relationships between performance, confidence and intrinsic and extrinsic factors could be explored. A total of approximately 30,000 questionnaires were returned from 141 schools across the UK. In Strand 2 we worked with 12 of our Strand 1 schools in more depth, undertaking a total of 254 student interviews. In Strand 3 we interviewed 51 first year undergraduates across four Higher Education Institutions. The overall conclusion of the UPMAP Project is that young people are more likely to continue with mathematics and/or physics after the age of 16: if they have been encouraged to do so by a key adult (usually in their family or at their school); if they believe that they will gain from studying the subject in terms of job satisfaction and/or material rewards; if they are can manifest conceptual understanding in the subject(s); and if they have been well taught.

About the speaker: Michael Reiss is Professor of Science Education at the UCL Institute of Education, University College London, Honorary Fellow of the British Science Association, Visiting Professor at the Universities of Kiel, Leeds and York and the Royal Veterinary College, Honorary Fellow of the College of Teachers, Docent at the University of Helsinki and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences. Books of his include: Reiss, M. J. & White, J. (2013) An Aims-based Curriculum, IOE Press; Jones, A., McKim, A. & Reiss, M. (Eds) (2010) Ethics in the Science and Technology Classroom: A New Approach to Teaching and Learning, Sense; Jones, L. & Reiss, M. J. (Eds) (2007). Teaching about Scientific Origins: Taking Account of Creationism, Peter Lang; Braund, M. & Reiss, M. J. (Eds) (2004) Learning Science Outside the Classroom, RoutledgeFalmer; Levinson, R. & Reiss, M. J. (Eds) (2003) Key Issues in Bioethics: A Guide for Teachers, RoutledgeFalmer; and Reiss, M. J. (2000) Understanding Science Lessons: Five Years of Science Teaching, Open University Press.

  • All very welcome to attend, however, there is no parking available at the Faculty. Please contact JS440 if you need directions or any additional information.

This talk is part of the Science & Technology Education Research Group ( S &TERG) series.

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