STEM activities do not seem to encourage students to make STEM subject choices for AS/A levels Interview with:


Dr. Banerjee

Pallavi Amitava Banerjee, PhD, FRS
Lecturer, Graduate School of Education
St Luke’s Campus
University of Exeter What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Several educational programs are being run to increase an awareness and understanding of STEM generally and more specifically to encourage young people to take up STEM learning trajectories.

A longitudinal study was conducted where nearly 60,000 year 7 students were followed up through secondary school. Every year these students took part in several hands on activities, ambassador led events, school STEM trips throughout each academic year from the beginning of year 7 till they took GCSEs.

Two main educational outcomes were considered –
a) GCSE attainment in science and math and
b) continued post-16 STEM participation (AS- and A-levels). What should readers take away from your report?

Response: We reported earlier in students or schools taking part in these activities did not attainment any higher than all other pupils. For the full length paper please see here

We now report students taking part in these activities did not necessarily consider STEM learning trajectories. We looked at ethnic minority pupils, pupils eligible for free school meals and all pupils generally and the results were similar.

There is no evidence to suggest STEM activities affect STEM subject choices. For a detailed report please see here;jsessionid=CB54056FD66BFE21AC8FB178F8CC9C17.f03t04

The study showed the point of delivery of STEM initiatives does make a difference. They are more effective if delivered earlier when students are younger What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: We need to identify the schemes which work better.

We also need to consider the best period for these initiatives to be delivered to support the increasing and widening participation strategy in the UK. Thank you for your contribution to the community.


Banerjee, P. A. (2017), Is informal education the answer to increasing and widening participation in STEM education?. Rev Educ. doi:10.1002/rev3.3093

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Last Updated on May 25, 2017 by Marie Benz MD FAAD