Aims of the ASPIRES project
There is now considerable evidence that children's interest in school science declines from the age of ten onwards. The continued under-representation of girls and women in science is also well documented.
Yet research suggests that there is little or no gender distinction in attitudes towards science at age 10, suggesting that there is a critical period between the ages of 10 and 14 in which to engage students.
This failure to engage young people, particularly girls, with pursuing scientific careers points to the need to develop a better understanding of why this is happening, and to create a new vision of why careers in science matter, both within schools and in the wider context of society.
The ASPIRES project aims to address the following four questions:
How are student educational and occupational aspirations formed over time?
How are these aspirations influenced by their peers, parents and their experience of school science?
How are these aspirations shaped by their gender, class and ethnic identities?
How and why are student educational and occupational aspirations affected by an intervention which specifically addresses career aspirations in science, mathematics and engineering?
‘While the great majority of ten year olds enjoy science, very few want to become a scientist’.
From the ASPIRES research project