Archive for July 20, 2011

Engaging Students’ Interest, even with lectures and facts, Best Promotes Interest in STEM Careers

Interesting finding! The authors suggest that it’s not how advanced the classes that matter the most for continuing in STEM, it’s how interesting the classes are.  In fact, more lecture and fact-based instruction does not hinder students from going on in College STEM classes — as long as the classes motivate student interest.  This isn’t an excuse for drill-and-kill.  It does say that it’s not about the amount covered in high school.  Covering more content may just turn students off.  It’s about getting them hooked, even without covering all that much, and then kids can take more advanced stuff when they get to College.

Earlier analyses of these data indicated that students interested in a STEM career in eighth grade were significantly more likely to complete a STEM degree in college. However, that group made up only 20 percent of the STEM degree-earners from the National Education Longitudinal Study’s 1988 sample. This study adds to the previous work by looking at the more complete educational histories of these students and investigating the other 80 percent of STEM graduates from the nationally representative sample.

The key finding is that various indicators of student interest and self-confidence in science and math in high school are strongly associated with students continuing STEM studies through college, above and beyond enrollment and achievement factors. There are also indications that teacher emphasis on further study in STEM has a positive association with persisting in STEM fields. Teacher lecturing and an emphasis on facts and rules were negatively associated. The academic level of high school science and math courses attempted was not significant in predicting persistence.

via Engaging Students’ Interest, Not Just Offering Advanced Classes, Best Promotes Interest in STEM Careers.

July 20, 2011 at 11:04 am 3 comments

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