Microsoft releases National Survey Findings on student motivation to study STEM

September 16, 2011 at 9:23 am 2 comments

Interesting set of findings from Microsoft, with a particular focus on gender differences in motivation to study STEM.  How interesting that Microsoft is doing this — not NSF, not a University.

The survey findings offer key insights behind the STEM skills shortage, including:

  • While most parents of K-12 students (93%) believe that STEM education should be a priority in the U.S., only half (49%) agree that it actually is a top priority for this country.
  • Nearly 4 in 5 STEM college students say that they decided to study STEM in high school or earlier, and parents say STEM interest begins at an early age.  One in five students (21%) decides in middle school or earlier.
  • Male students are more likely to pursue STEM because they have always enjoyed games/toys, reading books, and/or participating in clubs that are focused on their chosen subject area. (51% vs. 35% females).  Female students are more likely to say that they chose STEM to make a difference (49% vs. 34% males).
  • Teachers are at the head of the class when it comes to the reasons students decide to pursue a career in science, technology, engineering or math.
  • The motivation factors for boy and girls to become interested in STEM are very different. For boys, it’s primarily games and toys that led to a liking of STEM, for girls, it was a teacher or class. Schools should factor these differences into their STEM curriculum.

via Microsoft Releases National Survey Findings on How to Inspire the Next Generation of Doctors, Scientists, Software Developers and Engineers: New survey among college students and parents of K–12 students provides implications for nurturing interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers..

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Alfred Thompson  |  September 16, 2011 at 11:48 am

    Getting more students into STEM is actually prety important for companies like Microsoft. We depend on well trained people not only for employees but for customers. What surprises me is that more companies are not investing more in STEM promotion. There are academic prices for most software of course but that is passive. Microsoft has that but also in computer science related courses gives away a lot of software and curriculum – both the high school and higher ed levels – through DreamSpark and MSDN Academic Alliance. Google is spending some good money which is great. Intel has their Science award which is great but limited in scope. IBM supports some competitions which is also nice. Regionally other companies provide some support too.

    • 2. gasstationwithoutpumps  |  September 19, 2011 at 2:25 am

      Small companies that are looking for ways to support STEM education without taking a lot of company resources can sponsor prizes at the local or state science fair. Seagate and Plantronics are major supporters of the Santa Cruz County Science Fair, for example, and Plantronics usually sends several judges to the fair also.


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