chapter  12
15 Pages

A Comparative View on Adolescents’ Attitudes towards Science

WithSVEIN SJØBERG, CAMILLA SCHREINER

The position of science and technology (S&T) in a society changes through time and from one society to another. In developing countries, many young people would like to opt for a career in S&T, whereas many rich, highly developed countries notice declining recruitment of students to science and technology studies. “Europe needs more scientists!” is the title of the fi nal report from a large EU project addressing the condition of science and technology in the EU, which gives special attention to the number of people entering S&T educations and careers (EU, 2004). The title of the report reveals the point: falling recruitment to most S&T educations is seen as a big problem in most European countries. The same tendencies are noted in the US (NSB, 2008) and in most other OECD-countries. There is a great political concern about the decline in S&T recruitment in nearly all OECD countries (OECD 2006). The lack of relevance of the S&T school curriculum is seen as one of the greatest barriers to good learning and as the reason for young people’s low interest in the school subject and lack of motivation for pursuing the subject in their higher education. ROSE, The Relevance of Science Education, is an international comparative project meant to shed light on affective factors of importance to the learning of science and technology. The target population is students towards the end of secondary school (age 15). The research instrument is a questionnaire mostly consisting of closed questions with 4-point Likert scales. The rationale behind the project, including the questionnaire development, theoretical background, procedures for data collection etc., is described in Schreiner and Sjøberg (2004) and is available in print from the authors or from the project website.2 In this article, we will present the ROSE project and include a few general results from analysis of the data material.