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Pregled bibliografske jedinice broj: 903295

Interests in STEM careers during primary schooling: Fitting the STEM interests into RIASEC structural space

Babarović, Toni; Burušić, Josip; Dević, Ivan; Glasnović Gracin, Dubravka; Šakić Velić, Marija
Interests in STEM careers during primary schooling: Fitting the STEM interests into RIASEC structural space // European Conference on Educational Research (ECER 2017)
Copenhagen, Danska, 2017. Session: 09 SES 03 B, 5 (predavanje, međunarodna recenzija, neobjavljeni rad, znanstveni)

Interests in STEM careers during primary schooling: Fitting the STEM interests into RIASEC structural space

Babarović, Toni ; Burušić, Josip ; Dević, Ivan ; Glasnović Gracin, Dubravka ; Šakić Velić, Marija

Vrsta, podvrsta i kategorija rada
Sažeci sa skupova, neobjavljeni rad, znanstveni

European Conference on Educational Research (ECER 2017)

Mjesto i datum
Copenhagen, Danska, 22.-25.08.2017

Vrsta sudjelovanja

Vrsta recenzije
Međunarodna recenzija

Ključne riječi
STEM, interests, RIASEC, Property Vector Fitting (PVF)

This paper aims to explain the interests in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) careers among primary school children in Croatia. The problem of declining interest of youth in this area is relatively new, emerging and socially very relevant, resulting in shortage of STEM graduates and experts (EU, 2004 ; Osborne & Dillan, 2008 ; UNESCO, 2010). In this study we used Holland's model of vocational interests and work environments (Holland, 1959, 1997) to explore STEM interests and to see how and where they fit into Holland's interest themes. Holland’s theory is based on Person–Environment fit paradigm which assumes that interests directly influence educational and career choices and that people are inclined toward academic or work environments that are congruent with their interests. The congruence between an individual’s interests and work environment leads to greater satisfaction and career stability. Holland (1959, 1997) proposed six categories for classifying individuals and work environments: Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional, also referred to as the RIASEC model. The RIASEC interest types and work environments are organized in a circular hexagonal model that implies an equal distance between the types. Interests and work environments which are adjacent (e.g. RI) are more similar than the alternate ones (e.g. RA), while alternate types are more similar than opposite interests types (e.g. RS). Prediger (1982) proposed two bipolar dimensions that underlie the RIASEC model: the People-Things dimension that distinguishes between Social and Realistic types, and the orthogonal Data-Ideas dimension that differentiates Conventional and Enterprising types from Investigative and Artistic. The hexagonal structure of interest types was cross-culturally confirmed (Rounds & Tracey, 1996). With reference to previous research, the major difference in interests toward STEM careers can be found along the People-Things dimension. It has been found that People-Things orientations are good predictors of a choice of STEM college majors (Woodcock et al., 2013). Lubinski & Benbow (2006) argued that difference in People-Things interest dimension contributes to the poor representation of women in STEM occupations, while Su, Rounds, & Armstrong (2009) and Lippa (1998) demonstrated that sex differences in interests are the largest along the People-Things dimension. Things work activities involve tasks that do not include other people but involve working with tools or machines, while People work tasks involve other persons, and activities like caring for others or teaching. Many disciplines in natural sciences, such as physical science, astronomy, and chemistry involve heavy Realistic interests placed on the Things pole within the hexagon (Su & Rounds, 2015). Thus, it is expected that majority of STEM occupations are saturated with Realistic features of working environment. On the other hand, Investigative type of interest captures interests in science and research, and could also be an indicator for the interests in STEM careers. It is expected that most of STEM occupations have strong Realistic and Investigative component, and to lie close to the Things pole, but STEM is a broad term with heterogeneous sub-disciplines. According to the list of STEM occupations in O*NET database there are clusters of STEM occupations that have another dominant RIASEC code. There are STEM occupations with strong Artistic (e.g. Landscape Architects –AIR), Social (e.g. Chemistry Teachers, Postsecondary – SIR), Enterprising (e.g. Engineering Managers–ERI), and Conventional components (Financial Analysts– CIE). Therefore, the aim of this research is to find out how primary school children structure their interest toward STEM occupations, to which extent they differentiate between the STEM fields, and where their interests toward those fields can be placed within the general RIASEC model of interests. Method Participants and procedure The participants in this study were 1799 primary school students from grades 4th to 6th (age 10 to 12 years ; Mdn = 11 years). They were equally distributed by gender, with 50.2% of boys. This research is a part of wider longitudinal survey STEM career aspirations during primary schooling ( conducted in the city of Zagreb and its surroundings. Sixteen primary schools participated in the survey. Within each school, two classes of students within one generation were selected randomly, and joined the survey. Testing was organized on the school level and scheduled during regular classes. Instruments Children Vocational Interests Inventory (CVII) was developed and designed as a short and simple instrument for assessing the RIASEC interests (Holland, 1997) of primary school students. It consists of 48 occupations, well-known to children and frequent in the world of work, divided into 6 RIASEC types (eight occupations by type). Children needed to assess how much they like each occupation on the five point Likeret-type scale. STEM Interests Inventory for Children (STEM-IIC) consists of 15 items related to interest in STEM occupations and 13 items measuring interests in STEM activities. The STEM occupations are chosen from the List of STEM Occupations (O*NET) all well-known to children. The STEM activities scale is derived from the descriptions of STEM occupations (O*NET), which are brief and concise, and suitable for children's age. The task of respondents was to estimate how much they like each occupation and activity on a five-point Likert-type scale. STEM Careers Interest Survey – short, measures interest in four specific areas of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). It is an adaptation of STEM Career Interest Survey (STEM-CIS, Kier, Blanchard, Osborne, and Albert, 2014) consisting of 16 items, four from each of the STEM areas. It examined the extent to which students wish to engage in STEM areas in their career, whether they are interested in these occupations and activities, and if they have parental support in their choice. The questionnaire was created as a list of statements, and the task of the respondents was to estimate how much they agreed with the statement at the five-point Likert-type scale. All instruments and scales proved to have high reliability and validity with an expected and adequate factor structure. Expected Outcomes As expected, boys expressed more interests in STEM occupations and activities than girls in general. The biggest difference in interests was found in Technology and Engineering in favour of boys. However, small but significant difference in favour of boys was found in Mathematics, and no gender difference in interests was observed in the Science field. The correlations between RIASEC and STEM interests were all positive and moderate. It was observed that interest in Science was mostly related to Investigative interests, as well as STEM interests in Math and Technology. For the Engineering field, the correlations with RIASEC domains were all similar. The overall interest in STEM was mostly related to Investigative and then Realistic interests. The Property Vector Fitting procedure (Jones & Koehly, 1993) was applied to integrate STEM interests into RIASEC structural space. The PVF results suggested that fitting the STEM interests within RIASEC space mostly lay along the People-Things dimension. However, only general STEM measure, and interests toward Technology and Engineering met the R2 fit criteria, and can be well described by the RIASEC two-dimensional model. It also should be noted that interests in careers in Science depart from other STEM measures. It is directed toward the Ideas pole and incline to Investigative rather than Realistic interests. It was concluded that primary school children do not perceive STEM interests as a uniform field of vocational interests. They differentiate between interests in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, and fit them in different places along their RIASEC circumplex space. Moreover, it was shown that People-Things and Data-Ideas dimensions were not sufficient to adequately represent all STEM areas. Maybe some other models that include more dimensions (e.g. dimension of Prestige in Spherical Model, Tracey, 2002) should be considered to better integrate STEM interests in the general vocational interest space.

Izvorni jezik

Znanstvena područja
Psihologija, Obrazovne znanosti (psihologija odgoja i obrazovanja, sociologija obrazovanja, politologija obrazovanja, ekonomika obrazovanja, antropologija obrazovanja, neuroznanost i rano učenje, pedagoške discipline)


Projekt / tema
HRZZ-IP-2014-09-9250 - profesionalne aspiracije prema STEM zanimanjima tijekom snovne škole: longitudinalno istraživanje odnosa postignuća, vjerovanja o vlastitim kompetencijama i intersa za zanimanjima (Josip Burušić, )

Institut društvenih znanosti Ivo Pilar, Zagreb,
Učiteljski fakultet, Zagreb,
Hrvatsko katoličko sveučilište, Zagreb