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Title: Understanding Declining Science Participation in Australia: A Systemic Perspective
Contributor(s): Lyons, Terry  (author); Quinn, Frances  (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2015
DOI: 10.1007/978-94-007-7793-4_10
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Abstract: In this chapter we describe the substantial declines in student participation in senior high school physics, chemistry and biology classes in Australia over the last two decades. We outline some of the explanations commonly offered to account for these declines, elaborating on two contrasting positions: first, that they are due to today's students holding less positive attitudes towards science classes and careers than their predecessors, and second, that the declines are related to policy and structural changes at the upper secondary and tertiary education levels which have affected the relative status of subjects and the dynamics of choice. We describe how the Choosing Science study investigated the extent to which the two hypotheses were supported by empirical evidence, and discuss our findings in the light of a third result from the study concerning the role of self-identity in subject choice. We conclude that the declines in high school science enrolments are most likely related to changes in school and university curriculum options and that within this expanded curriculum marketplace, identity becomes a very important reference point in students' decisions about whether to take science in the final years of high school.
Publication Type: Book Chapter
Source of Publication: Understanding Student Participation and Choice in Science and Technology Education, p. 153-168
Publisher: Springer
Place of Publication: Dordrecht, The Netherlands
ISBN: 9789400777927
Field of Research (FOR): 130212 Science, Technology and Engineering Curriculum and Pedagogy
130106 Secondary Education
130103 Higher Education
HERDC Category Description: B1 Chapter in a Scholarly Book
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