Open Conference Systems, 11th DATTArc-ICTE-TENZ-ITEEA 2022

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The influence of a STEM Challenge on subject choice and the perception of STEM in High School
Simon Gareth Tilley

Building: BUILDING C
Room: Breakout Room C617 ♣︎
Date: 2022-12-08 01:40 PM – 02:15 PM
Last modified: 2022-11-21


The reliance on existing technologies and the continual development of new ones has highlighted the shortfall in STEM skills, resulting in a $1.1 billion investment in STEM. Yet there is little research to indicate whether STEM initiatives have increased students’ interest in selecting STEM subjects.  This study integrated Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths into a one-off year 9 STEM Challenge relying on an authentic problem-solving approach. The study aimed to identify key attributes that were present in student taking part in the STEM Challenge.  It examined whether these attributes contributed to the feeling of success during the Challenge and how these may have affected the pupils subsequent subject selection and interest in a possible STEM career. The gender bias that existed was more in favour of girls taking part in the competition than boys and most students felt their subject and career choice were their own decision.  Results from this study indicated that fathers or male carers jobs appeared to have more of an influence than the one-off STEM Challenge, perceived subject skill, gender, socioeconomic or ethnicity.  The use of these findings may help schools and organisations take a more proactive into encouraging students into STEM at school.


STEM; Secondary school;

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