Global Patterns in Students’ Views of Science and Interest in Science
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International studies have shown that interest in science and technology among primary and secondary school students in Western European countries is low and seems to be decreasing. In many countries outside Europe, and especially in developing countries, interest in science and technology remains strong. As part of the large-scale European Union funded ‘Science Education for Diversity’ project, a questionnaire probing potential reasons for this difference was completed by students in the UK, Netherlands, Turkey, Lebanon, India and Malaysia. This questionnaire sought information about favourite courses, extracurricular activities and views on the nature of science. Over 9,000 students aged mainly between 10 and 14 years completed the questionnaire. Results revealed that students in countries outside Western Europe showed a greater interest in school science, in careers related to science and in extracurricular activities related to science than did Western European students. Non-European students were also more likely to hold an empiricist view of the nature of science and to believe that science can solve many problems faced by the world. Multilevel analysis revealed a strong correlation between interest in science and having such a view of the Nature of Science.
KeywordsInterest in science Nature of science Large-scale studies International Comparisons Empiricism
This publication received funding from the European Union Science in Society Framework 7 Programme (FP7/2007/2013) under grant agreement 244717. We would like to thank the following people for collecting data and contributing to this research project: Roel Janssen, Huseyin Bag, Lindsay Hetherington, Alun Morgan, Keith Postlethwaite, Rupert Wegerif, Ng Swee Chin, Choy Siew Chee, Oo Pou San, Chin Fui Chung, Teh Lee Wah, Sugra Chunawala, Chitra Natarajan and Beena Choksi.
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