CIRE - Understanding Student Participation and Choice in Science and Technology Education: A European Perspective

17 March 2015, 12.00 PM - 17 March 2015, 1.15 PM

Professor Justin Dillon, Head of Graduate School of Education, University of Bristol

Room 4.06, Graduate School of Education, 35 Berkeley Square

Centre for Comparative and International Research in Education

This talk will look at the work of an EU-funded project, Interests and Recruitment in Science (IRIS). IRIS was a collaborative research project involving partners in the UK, Italy, Norway, Denmark and Slovenia which ran from 2009-2012. IRIS addressed the challenge that few young people in general, and women in particular, choose to pursue an education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

IRIS drew on different theoretical frameworks to address young people’s educational choice processes and their relationship to STEM: An expectancy-value model of achievement-related choices; sociological theories about youth in late modern societies; young people's identity work and their construction of a narrative describing their choice; ad, Tinto’s model describing students’ decisions of whether or not to persist in their chosen education; and feminist perspectives on women's participation in STEM.

The questionnaire, IRIS Q, was completed by almost 7,000 STEM students. IRIS also encompassed a range of qualitative and quantitative modules, including a combined questionnaire, focus group and interview study of the impact of school science curriculum on students’ subject choices; a study of first-year female STEM students’ written narratives of how they came to choose STEM, and an interview study of the narratives of first-year students as they negotiate whether to stay or leave STEM higher education programmes.

Contact information

Marcia Shah

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