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Developing engagement and literacy in science: What do the girls say?

Woods-McConney, A., Oliver, M., McConney, A. and Maor, D. (2015) Developing engagement and literacy in science: What do the girls say? In: Australasian Science Education Research Association (ASERA) Conference 2015, 30 June - 3 July 2015, University of Western Australia, Nedlands


Despite decades of sustained national focus in several countries (e.g., Australia, Canada, New Zealand, UK, and USA) recent trends in students’ course-taking and career choices suggest proportionally fewer students pursuing STEM-related study. Consequently, to address this trend, it is important to better understand factors currently related to students’ engagement, literacy and attainment in STEM subjects and vocations. Our own recent research has examined students’ science literacy and engagement in association with formal (school-based) and informal (outside of school, home-related) factors, using retrospective analysis of Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) data. In this study we purposefully recruited several female students enrolled in late-secondary school Physics. This selection meant that all participants were engaged in school science and likely to be considering post-secondary study in STEM, and possibly STEM-related careers. Our purpose was to hear from this select group of female science students, their stories of influences in the development of their engagement and literacy in science. In particular, we were interested in juxtaposing their stories against the explanatory regression models we had previously developed. In this way, our purpose was to test the nomothetic explanations previously offered using idiographic stories of factors related to the engagement of girls in science.

Publication Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Education
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