Effectiveness of enrichment programs in cultivating STEM interest in year nine female students

Stephanie Mayes, Maria Parappilly

Abstract


BACKGROUND:
With women underrepresented in STEM disciplines, due to the perception that STEM careers are challenging (Kier et al, 2013), there is a focus on encouraging females to pursue STEM (Marginson et al, 2013). Research suggests that enrichment programs enhance interest in gaining a STEM career (Merolla & Serpe, 2013), however knowledge on the most effective enrichment method is limited.

AIMS:
The aim of this project is to investigate the effectiveness of two enrichment methods on female year nine students’ interest in STEM.

METHOD:
The project involves two enrichment programs run through Flinders University; Real Science Enrichment Days and Design & Technology Enrichment Series. The effectiveness of enrichment on student attitudes towards STEM was evaluated by experiment using modified validated pre- and post- surveys (Tyler-Wood et al, 2010).

RESULTS:
Findings show that both enrichment methods take the negativity out of students, who found Science less challenging after either enrichment. After the Enrichment Series, there was a decrease in the percentage of students who found Science boring. We seek to present the usefulness of such programs and the measurable outcomes achieved so far.

CONCLUSIONS:
These findings will be beneficial in designing more efficient enrichment programs to inspire girls about STEM careers.

Keywords


STEM, enrichment, women, career

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