Science clubs may boost socially disadvantaged pupils’ scientific aspirations

Extracurricular activities in science, such as after school clubs, may help to increase scientific aspirations of pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds, according to new research published in the International Journal of Science Education.

Tamjid Mujtaba and colleagues looked at survey responses of 4,780 pupils in Year 7 and Year 8 from schools in England with high proportions of pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds. Their responses showed that pupils’ aspirations to study science beyond age 16 were strongly associated with their basic interest in the subject, how useful they thought science was for future careers and their engagement in extracurricular activities, such as science clubs. In addition, pupils’ confidence in their own abilities in science and encouragement from teachers and family to continue studying science after age 16 had smaller but still relevant associations.

Overall, the researchers suggest that pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds would benefit from support and encouragement to continue with science and having access to science-related extracurricular activities.

Source: Students’ science attitudes, beliefs, and context: associations with science and chemistry aspirations (March 2018), International Journal of Science Education, Volume 40, Issue 6

One thought on “Science clubs may boost socially disadvantaged pupils’ scientific aspirations”

  1. I have no doubt science clubs are of huge benefit, especially to those with some sort of disadvantage.
    I ‘wonder’ if there is a link between a reductionist approach to science education in a performativity culture to cover the curriculum. High stakes testing & low status of sc ( especially in primary) has increased the need to have more science clubs to fill the gaps in pupils experience?
    Sadly I suspect we need voluntary run science clubs more than ever to re-engage pupils curiosity, to foster critical and creative reasoning skills, to motivate and empower young people towards a high degree of science literacy and in this way address the dry diet that a narrow test driven curriculum seems to foster.

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