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Students' choice of post-compulsory science: In search of schools that compensate for the socio-economic background of their students
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Mathematics and Science Education.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Mathematics.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Mathematics and Science Education.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Mathematics and Science Education.
2013 (English)In: International Journal of Science Education, ISSN 0950-0693, E-ISSN 1464-5289, Vol. 35, no 18, 3141-3160 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

It is commonly argued that socio-economic inequalities can explain many of the differences in achievement and participation in science education that have been reported among countries and among schools within a country. We addressed this issue by examining (a) the relationship between variables associated with socio-economic background and application frequencies to the Swedish Natural Science Programme (NSP) in upper secondary school and (b) whether there are lower secondary schools in Sweden that seem to compensate for these variables. Data from Statistics Sweden (SCB) covering the whole population of 106,483 ninth-grade students were used to calculate the probability for each student to apply to the NSP. Our results indicate that the variables, such as parental educational level and grades, have explanatory power, but with varying effect for different subpopulations of students. For example, grades in mathematics have a greater impact than grades in science for females’ choice of the NSP. The opposite holds for male students. Out of 1,342 schools, 158 deviated significantly from predicted, that is, the students in these schools applied to the NSP in greater or lesser extent than expected. The number of deviating schools is greater than predicted by pure random variation. This suggests that variables of socio-economic background are only a partial explanation of the application frequencies, and that the deviation needs to be investigated further. Our findings suggest that in order to understand why schools deviate positively and so compensate for the socio-economic background of their students, we need to study their practices more closely

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 35, no 18, 3141-3160 p.
Keyword [en]
Post-compulsory, Science, Interest, Socio-economic, School effect
National Category
Educational Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-78841DOI: 10.1080/09500693.2012.696738ISI: 000324903100006OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-78841DiVA: diva2:544524
Available from: 2012-08-15 Created: 2012-08-15 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Taste for Science: How can teaching make a difference for students’ interest in science?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Taste for Science: How can teaching make a difference for students’ interest in science?
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The objective of the thesis is to describe and analyse aspects of home background and teaching that may be important for students’ capability and will to participate in science. The purpose is to make explicit how teaching can support students in developing an interest in science and so counter-balance the restricted opportunities some students may have due to upbringing. In study 1 population data is used to make evident what associations there are between home background variables and the students’ choice of applying for the Swedish post-compulsory Natural Science Programme (NSP). The findings show that home background is important for Swedish students’ choice of the NSP but also that some lower secondary schools can make a difference. Students’ interest in science has usually been examined through questionnaires and rarely studied as constituted in classroom action as a result of teaching. In study 2 therefore an action-oriented methodology is developed based on the concept of taste to study what difference a teacher can make for the constitution of interest in the science classroom. The concept of taste is grounded in pragmatism and the works of Pierre Bourdieu and acknowledges the affective, normative, and cognitive dimensions of situated science learning. In study 3 this methodology is used to examine how a teacher located through Study 1 supports his students in developing an interest in science. The results of study 3 suggest how teaching can make the object of science the focus of students’ interest and so showing that science, with its aims, norms, and values, can be enjoyed in itself. Study 4 draws on the findings of studies 1-3 to discuss the possibility of an overlooked field in studying interest in science; namely whether primary, secondary, tertiary students in effect have different objects of interest. The findings of studies 1-4 are used to discuss how teaching may make a difference to a continued student interest in science.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Mathematics and Science Education, Stockholm University, 2014. 90 p.
Series
Doctoral thesis from the department of mathematics and science education, 9
Keyword
interest in science, taste for science, norms, values, aesthetics, secondary school, home background, teaching, learning, equity, pragmatism, Bourdieu
National Category
Didactics
Research subject
Science Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-108074 (URN)978-91-7649-001-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-11-14, De Geersalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 14, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 2: In press. Paper 3: In press. Paper 4: Manuscript.

Available from: 2014-10-23 Created: 2014-10-08 Last updated: 2014-11-21Bibliographically approved

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