STEM education in regional,
rural and remote areas
Associate Professor Jenny Mosse
School of Applied and Biomedical Scienc...
• Analysis of data collected nationwide in 2003
and 20061 indicates that:
– Intention to complete Year 12 at age 15 correl...
• students who plan to stay in their local community have
fewer educational and career options1
– limited exposure/ fewer ...
• Nation-wide study of Year 12 students1 undertaken in 2008
– 63% of metropolitan students plan to attend university
– 39%...
Destinations of Victorian students completing Year 12 in 2013
Rural students are less likely to attend university
Metropol...
Rural students are less likely to complete Year 12
Victorian Auditor General’s report, April 2014
Victorian government Yea...
< 70%
70-80%
>80%
Victoria: 2010 Year 12 completion at age 19; % change 1999-2010
Victorian Auditor General’s report, Nov ...
GIPPSLAND STUDENTS ENROLLED IN UNIT 4 VCE AS (% OF STATE PARTICIPATION RATE)
Rural students display distinct patterns of e...
• Personal consequences
– participation and performance in senior secondary
STEM are “gatekeepers” for university entrance...
• year 10 students’ decisions to study senior secondary maths and
science are primarily influenced by teachers1
• student'...
• rural/ remote maths and science teachers are twice/ three times as
likely as metropolitan teachers to teach a subject fo...
• mentors for beginning teachers are often lacking
• rural teachers have limited access to professional development1
• vet...
Experienced teacher, teaching Physics out-of-field in a remote school:
I think most experienced teachers have got the peda...
Experienced teacher, teaching Chemistry out-of-field in a remote school:
I found [the Chemistry session] good just for rev...
VCE Biology teacher with some experience from a remote school
One of the difficulties in a small school is you don’t have ...
• STEM related programs:
– most engage directly with secondary students
and aim to change students’ aspirations towards
hi...
• 30% of first year students enrolled in STEM disciplines
could recall participating in at least one STEM outreach
activit...
• difficult to deliver in regional areas
– low population density and wide geographic spread
• metropolitan and rural stud...
Can we design school-university partnership programs to
1. build the capacities of regional secondary school teachers
to t...
Student performance
Expected outcome:
 Increased VCE achievement / ATAR
Student aspirations
Expected outcome:
 Aspire to...
OLT funding August 2013 – August 2015
1. Identify the nature and extent of school-university partnerships
delivering STEM ...
• Alloway & Dalley-Trim (2009) 'High and dry' in rural Australia: obstacles to student aspirations and expectations. Rural...
A/Prof Jennifer Mosse - Faculty of Science and Technology, Federation University Australia - STEM education in regional, r...
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A/Prof Jennifer Mosse - Faculty of Science and Technology, Federation University Australia - STEM education in regional, rural and remote areas

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A/Prof Jennifer Mosse delivered the presentation at the 2014 STEM Conference.

The STEM Education Conference in 2014 looked not only at some of the key advantages and critical gaps in STEM education but also explore the policy and strategy settings that can enable participation and quality learning of STEM.

For more information about the event, please visit: http://bit.ly/STEMConf2014

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A/Prof Jennifer Mosse - Faculty of Science and Technology, Federation University Australia - STEM education in regional, rural and remote areas

  1. 1. STEM education in regional, rural and remote areas Associate Professor Jenny Mosse School of Applied and Biomedical Sciences Federation University Australia Advancing innovation and research in STEM education and practice
  2. 2. • Analysis of data collected nationwide in 2003 and 20061 indicates that: – Intention to complete Year 12 at age 15 correlates strongly with outcomes at age 18 – Intention to attend university at age 15 correlates moderately with post-school destinations – Career aspirations at age 15 and occupation at age 25 are loosely correlated • aspirations often unrealistic, but clear aspirations increase likelihood of employment – may be in a different field Student aspiration correlates with future destinations 1. Homel and Ryan, 2014
  3. 3. • students who plan to stay in their local community have fewer educational and career options1 – limited exposure/ fewer opportunities for professional careers – limited access to higher education courses Biology teacher with some experience working in a remote school: “I think for us in a location like this, we face the challenge in that the students don’t see a wide range of professionals and the parents aren’t coming from a lot of professional backgrounds. So for us it’s important to expose that to the students and to show them what is possible. I guess one of the challenges we face is that education is perhaps not as highly valued as it might be in other communities….” Rural and metropolitan students imagine different futures 1. DEST, 2004
  4. 4. • Nation-wide study of Year 12 students1 undertaken in 2008 – 63% of metropolitan students plan to attend university – 39% of provincial students plan to attend university – 31% of remote students plan to attend university • Aspirations influence student participation in VCE science Experienced Physics teacher from a provincial city based school with a strong culture of academic achievement and high rates of student enrolment in tertiary education: “I don't teach many kids that are doing physics for the pure love of physics……..physics is a tool to get them to somewhere else. This is going to help their ATAR score. University is where they want to go.” 1. DEEWR, 2009 Rural and metropolitan students imagine different futures
  5. 5. Destinations of Victorian students completing Year 12 in 2013 Rural students are less likely to attend university Metropolitan Rural Victorian Auditor General’s report, April 2014
  6. 6. Rural students are less likely to complete Year 12 Victorian Auditor General’s report, April 2014 Victorian government Year 12 completion rates for 19 year olds
  7. 7. < 70% 70-80% >80% Victoria: 2010 Year 12 completion at age 19; % change 1999-2010 Victorian Auditor General’s report, Nov 2012 Rural students are less likely to complete Year 12
  8. 8. GIPPSLAND STUDENTS ENROLLED IN UNIT 4 VCE AS (% OF STATE PARTICIPATION RATE) Rural students display distinct patterns of enrolment in senior STEM 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 110 120 130 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Participationrate(%) Year Chemistry Physics Specialist Maths Maths Methods State comparison Biology Further Maths Enrolment rates sourced from VCAA with the approval of DEECD
  9. 9. • Personal consequences – participation and performance in senior secondary STEM are “gatekeepers” for university entrance1 – narrower range of post-school options for rural students • Community consequences – lack of skilled professionals for regional workforce • staffing instability – lack of STEM educators Consequences of rural students’ subject choices: 1. Tytler et al 2006
  10. 10. • year 10 students’ decisions to study senior secondary maths and science are primarily influenced by teachers1 • student's decisions to enrol in STEM courses is strongly influenced by good teachers (58% rate them as very important/ important)2 – careers teachers have little influence (57% rate little/ not important) • student performance is correlated with a science teacher’s knowledge of/ experience in their subject area3 • regional/remoteschools have difficulty attracting and retaining senior maths and science teachers, therefore: – teachers with limited expertise and restricted subject choice1 – few enthusiastic role models and limited career advice4 1. Lyons & Quinn, 2010 2. Lyons et al, 2012 3. Whitehurst, 2002 4. Alloway & Dalley-Trim, 2009 Factors affecting rural students’ subject choices:
  11. 11. • rural/ remote maths and science teachers are twice/ three times as likely as metropolitan teachers to teach a subject for which they are not qualified1 – STEM subjects may be taught by non-STEM teachers 2 – senior physics and chemistry teachers often teaching ‘out of field’ – generalist teachers teaching middle years science • shortages particular apparent in mathematics – primary trained teachers teaching middle years mathematics • teacher dissatisfaction contributes to staff turnover – staffing instability – students more likely to encounter underprepared teachers in consecutive years 1. Lyons et al 2006 2. Hobbs 2012 Rural STEM teachers may be underqualified
  12. 12. • mentors for beginning teachers are often lacking • rural teachers have limited access to professional development1 • veteran teachers also vulnerable – STEM content is dynamic • rural teachers often have little/ no technical support2 • narrow range of post-school options for rural students – participation and performance in senior secondary maths and science are “gatekeepers” for university entrance4 • lack of skilled professionals to contribute to regional economies Support for rural teachers is often inadequate 1. Tytler et al 2011 2. Hackling 2009
  13. 13. Experienced teacher, teaching Physics out-of-field in a remote school: I think most experienced teachers have got the pedagogybut maybe not the knowledge base to be able to expand and have really good dialoguewith students. New Biology teacher, teaching in field at remote school: The biology course now is so contentrich and so different to any biology I did at uni, 15 years ago. And I spend a lot of time at home every night brushing up on contentthat I’ve never seen or heard before, just to be able to teach it the next day. I would jump at the chance to do some content biologyPD…… I’m taking my Year 12 Biology (students)down to the (VCE) DNA Workshop…..I’m basicallytreating it as PD myself Experienced teacher, teaching Chemistry out-of-field at a remote school: It (Year 12 VCE Chemistry instrumentation workshops) was subject material I never knew about really…. and so, me having to teach it from not knowing anything about it, I’d spent quite a while combing through a couple of different textbooks, trying to teach myself a bit about it but being unawareof what the intention from the curriculum document study design was. Rural STEM teachers seek content knowledge
  14. 14. Experienced teacher, teaching Chemistry out-of-field in a remote school: I found [the Chemistry session] good just for revision. ... Full of good information; subject-contentspecific; study techniques for students; teaching parts of the curriculum that have and have not been done well in the past that perhaps needed to be focused on a little more clearly... It has influenced how I use my revision time... Experienced Biology teacher, teaching in-field at a provincial city based school: I do know the Meet the Assessor Session when you’re sitting around a table chatting and talking to the assessor, is an opportunity to talk to others and chat to others and sort of meet people from different areas ... Because you’re there with the ability to share ideas and sit around a table there’s opportunities there to really network and exchange ideas with people. Rural STEM teachers need to hear from assessors Rural STEM teachers need to engage with others
  15. 15. VCE Biology teacher with some experience from a remote school One of the difficulties in a small school is you don’t have a faculty... In biology, I am the faculty. So I think one of the key things for small schools is being able to develop that faculty approach across other campuses, or through associations... The best PD for me was connecting with other teachers that were teaching biology... Just meeting people willing to share resources. • professional learning communities (PLCs), involving collaboration between teachers within subject disciplines can address this sense of isolation 1 – need to operate across school boundaries – may need to operate across school sectors Rural STEM teachers need professional networks 1. Tytler et al (2011)
  16. 16. • STEM related programs: – most engage directly with secondary students and aim to change students’ aspirations towards higher education1 – many provide extension activities for able/ interested students School university partnership programs 1. Gale et al, 2010 2. Lyons et al, 2012
  17. 17. • 30% of first year students enrolled in STEM disciplines could recall participating in at least one STEM outreach activity1 – most encouraged interest in STEM related courses – especially important for females in non-traditional areas of study • What is the role of STEM outreach programs in rural/ regional areas? School university partnership programs 1. Lyons et al, 2012
  18. 18. • difficult to deliver in regional areas – low population density and wide geographic spread • metropolitan and rural students access different activities1 – Olympiad participants almost exclusively metropolitan – rural students more likely to participate in summer schools, work experience • more effective to support professionally and geographically isolated secondary maths and science teachers2 – build teaching capacity – reach students indirectly STEM outreach programs 1. Lyons et al, 2012 2. Sheehan & Mosse, 2013
  19. 19. Can we design school-university partnership programs to 1. build the capacities of regional secondary school teachers to teach mathematics and science 2. improve the achievements and aspirations of regional secondary school students to enrol in senior secondary school mathematics and science subjects – subsequently in STEM-related university courses. The challenge:
  20. 20. Student performance Expected outcome:  Increased VCE achievement / ATAR Student aspirations Expected outcome:  Aspire to university STEM courses Student participation Expected outcome:  Increased enrolment VCE Science Participation in higher education Expected outcome:  Enrolment in university STEM courses VCE Workshops Meet the Assessor ‘Roadshow’ Discipline days STEM Teacher participation Professional development needs:  Knowledge enhancement  Establish peer support network Gippsland Access and Participation (GAP) project
  21. 21. OLT funding August 2013 – August 2015 1. Identify the nature and extent of school-university partnerships delivering STEM related programs in regional areas 2. Identify the characteristics of successful programs 3. Undertake case studies of effective programs that engage non- metropolitan students and teachers – reflect diversity of offerings 4. Develop a framework for evaluation and design of maths and science based interventions for regional students – inform future investment
  22. 22. • Alloway & Dalley-Trim (2009) 'High and dry' in rural Australia: obstacles to student aspirations and expectations. Rural Society, 19 (1), 49-59. • Department of Education, Science and Training (2004) Factors impacting on student aspirations and expectations in regional Australia. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia. • Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (2009) Year 12 Student Choices: A survey on factors influencing Year 12 decision-making on post-school destination, choice of university and preferred subject Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia. • Gale et al (2010) Interventions Early in School as a Means to Improve Higher Education Outcomes for Disadvantaged (particularly low SES) Students: A survey of the Nature and Extent of Outreach Activities Conducted by Australian Higher Education (Table A) Providers. Canberra: DEEWR. • Hackling (2009) Laboratory technicians in Australian secondary schools. Teaching Science, 55(3), 34-39. • Hobbs(2012) Teaching out-of-field: Factors shaping identities of secondary science and mathematics. Teaching Science, 58(1), 32-40. • Homel, J & Ryan, C 2014, Educational outcomes: the impact of aspirations and the role of student background characteristics, LSAY research report 65, NCVER,Adelaide. • Lyonset al (2006). Science, ICT and Mathematics Education in Rural and Regional Australia: The SiMERR National Survey. DEST: Canberra. • Lyons & Quinn (2010) Choosing Science: Understanding the declines in senior high school science enrolments. Research Report to the Australian Science TeachersAssociation (ASTA). SiMERR: Armidale. • Lyonset al (2012) Starting out in STEM: a study of young men and women in first year science, technology, engineering and mathematics courses. A report fromthe IRIS project prepared for Australia’s Chief Scientist. SiMERR: Armidale. • Sheehan & Mosse (2013) Working with science teachers to transform the opportunity landscape for regional and rural youth: a qualitative evaluation of the sciencein schools program. Australian Journal of Teacher Education , 38(1), 75-96. • Tytler et al (2006). You Don’t Have Other Teachers to Bounce Ideas Off.SiMERR: Armidale. • Tytler,et al (2011) Discourse communities: A framework from which to consider professionaldevelopmentfor rural teachers of science and mathematics. Teachingand Teacher Education, 27 (5) 871-879. • Whitehurst(2002). Scientifically Based Research on Teacher Quality: Research on Teacher Preparation and ProfessionalDevelopment. Paper presented to the White House Conferenceon Preparing Tomorrow’sTeachers,Washington. • Victorian Auditor General (2014) Access to education for rural students PP No 305, Session 2010–14 Victorian GovernmentPrinter: Melbourne References

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