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Engaging & Retaining Youth in STEM: Lessons from Canadian Research

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Canadian students are good at science, scoring near the top on international assessments of science achievement; however, most don’t choose senior science courses, eliminating the possibility of STEM-related higher education and careers and contributing to Canada’s relatively low percentage of science and engineering graduates. Despite this, 93% of Canadians report being interested in new scientific discoveries and technological developments, and are more likely to visit a science and technology museum than citizens of any other country except Sweden. What are we learning from research about engaging and retaining Canadian youth in STEM from elementary school through post-secondary education and careers?

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Engaging & Retaining Youth in STEM: Lessons from Canadian Research

  1. 1. Engaging & Retaining Youth in STEM Lessons from Canadian Research
  2. 2. Science Culture Indicators • 51% – population aged 25-64 with tertiary education • 1st among OECD countries • 93% – very/moderately interested in new scientific discoveries and technological developments • 1st out of 33 countries • 32% – visited a science and technology museum at least once in previous year • 2nd out of 39 countries • 30% – total employment in STEM occupations • 22nd out of 37 countries Council of Canadian Academies - 2014
  3. 3. Science Achievement 15-year olds – 65 OECD countries 1. Shanghai - China 2. Hong Kong - China 3. Singapore 4. Japan 5. Finland 6. Estonia 7. South Korea 8. Viet Nam 9. Poland 10. Canada OECD PISA 2012
  4. 4. Science/Engineering Graduates % of total new degrees 1. Luxembourg 2. South Korea 3. Finland 4. Germany 5. Greece 6. France 7. Austria 8. Sweden 9. Portugal 10. Czech Republic 11. Spain 12. Mexico 13. Estonia 14. Japan 15. United Kingdom 16. Italy 17. Ireland 18. Switzerland 19. Belgium 20. Canada OECD 2010
  5. 5. “It is important for my country to lead the world in science.” Lenovo 2011 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% India Mexico Russia USA Japan UK Canada
  6. 6. “I like science.” StatsCan 2001 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Grade 4 Grade 8 Grade 12 CHEM BIO PHYS
  7. 7. “I like science.” 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Age 13 14 15 16 17 Amgen/Let’s Talk Science 2014
  8. 8. “I am interested in science.” Ipsos Reid/CFI 2010 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Age 12-13 14-16 17-18
  9. 9. “I am interested in science.” Ipsos Reid/CFI 2010 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Age 12-13 14-16 17-18
  10. 10. Describing Science by Age 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Cool Fun Inspiring 12-13 14-16 17-18 Ipsos Reid/CFI 2010 Age:
  11. 11. Describing Science by Age 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Boring Difficult Complicated 12-13 14-16 17-18 Ipsos Reid/CFI 2010 Age:
  12. 12. Describing Science by Age 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Fun Boring 13 14 15 16 17 Amgen/Let’s Talk Science 2014 Age:
  13. 13. “I plan to pursue a STEM-related career.” Lenovo 2011 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Mexico India Russia USA Canada UK Japan
  14. 14. Interest in post-secondary science “a lot” + “some” 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Age 13 14 15 16 17 47 56595759 Amgen/Let’s Talk Science 2014
  15. 15. Want to study in Grade 12 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Biology Chemistry Env't Science ICT Physics Math 32 2630 242731 Amgen/Let’s Talk Science 2014
  16. 16. What makes a difference? • Students view science as fun,
 inspiring, and important • Age 12-13 / Middle School • Effective teachers & informed parents Ipsos Reid/CFI 2010 & Lenovo 2011
  17. 17. “Science is important.” Ipsos Reid/CFI 2010 68%12-18 year olds
  18. 18. “Science is more important than when my parents were in school.” Amgen/Let’s Talk Science 2014 69%13-17 year olds
  19. 19. Student Barriers “My grades aren’t good enough.” “STEM subjects are too hard.” Poor knowledge of STEM education/ career options & opportunities Amgen/Let’s Talk Science 2014
  20. 20. Teacher Issues • Curriculum • focus & overload • Elementary (K-8) Teachers • STEM background • Fear & avoidance • Secondary (9-12) Teachers • Inquiry/research background • Perceived role
  21. 21. Canadian teens • Want to make a difference • 84% want to make a useful contribution • 79% want to help people • 70% want to solve problems • World-class young scientists • Intel International Science & Engineering Fair • Google Science Fair Amgen/Let’s Talk Science 2014
  22. 22. reni.barlow@why2wow.ca

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