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T HE S TUDENT E XPERIENCE OF STEM VS N ON -STEM D EGREE P ROGRAMMES : A C OMPARATIVE S TUDY Chris Pawson.

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Presentation on theme: "T HE S TUDENT E XPERIENCE OF STEM VS N ON -STEM D EGREE P ROGRAMMES : A C OMPARATIVE S TUDY Chris Pawson."— Presentation transcript:

1 T HE S TUDENT E XPERIENCE OF STEM VS N ON -STEM D EGREE P ROGRAMMES : A C OMPARATIVE S TUDY Chris Pawson

2 STEM in the UK Significant shortfall in STEM skilled applicants in the U.K. (CBI, 2011) Attempts to increase uptake of STEM subjects: -National Curriculum changes in Science So What? So Everything (DIUS, 2009) School children’s reasons for not studying STEM: -No clear application to employment ¹ -Transmissive and unappealing pedagogy ² ¹Archer et al. (2010) ² Lyons (2006); Osborne (2007)

3 STEM Promotion: The Role of HE? Reasons for leaving HE STEM study -Perception of better teaching in non-STEM -Loss of interest in science (Olds & Miller, 2004; Seymour and Hewitt, 1997) Increasing interest in science and access to STEM careers in both schools and Universities Improving teaching and perceptions of teaching in STEM subjects

4 Student Satisfaction Stable differences between subjects (HEFCE, 2010) Historical / Philosophical studies most satisfied (HEFCE,2010) Computer & Mathematical Science < Law (Surridge, 2008) Subject area exerts larger effects on satisfaction than characteristics of students or institution Variance in overall satisfaction: - 2.5% accounted for by differences between institution – 7% accounted for by subject area (Surridge, 2009)

5 Analysis of HEFCE 2011 Data Satisfaction rates from all UK Universities organised by broad subject groups STEM: Engineering & Tech; Computer Sciences; Maths Sciences Non-STEM: Creative Arts; Geography; Education; History & Philosophy; Languages Analysis of satisfaction with teaching by subject area compared with global satisfaction

6 Staff Have Made the Subject Interesting STEMSTEM NON-STEMNON-STEM

7 Staff Are Enthusiastic About What They are Teaching STEMSTEM NON-STEMNON-STEM

8 Analysis of NSS 2011 Data Comparison of 18 UK Universities that all had the same broad provision STEM: Psychology; Elec Eng; Chemistry; Maths/Stats Non-STEM: English; History; Sociology; Law Compared NSS teaching ratings: i) Staff are good at ability to explain STEM = 88% < Non-STEM = 93% ii) Staff make the subject interesting STEM = 78% < Non-STEM = 87%

9 Staff Are Good At Explaining Things

10 Staff Have Made the Subject Interesting

11 Participants STEM (n = 583) -Health and Bioscience (e.g. Biomedical Science) -Computing and Engineering (e.g. Civil Engineering) -Psychology (e.g. Forensic Psychology) M= 46% & F = 54% 25 yrs = 42% -Health and Bioscience (e.g. Biomedical Science) -Computing and Engineering (e.g. Civil Engineering) -Psychology (e.g. Forensic Psychology) M= 46% & F = 54% 25 yrs = 42% Non-STEM (n = 597) -Law (e.g. Criminology; LLB) -Humanities (e.g. Anthropology) -Arts (e.g. Fine Art; Design) M= 38% & F = 62% 25 yrs = 40% -Law (e.g. Criminology; LLB) -Humanities (e.g. Anthropology) -Arts (e.g. Fine Art; Design) M= 38% & F = 62% 25 yrs = 40%

12 Satisfaction Survey NSS questions administered via online questionnaire at end of first year of study Five sub-dimensions: -Teaching (α =.90) -Assessment (α =.82) -Academic Support (α =.85) -Organisation (α =.87) -Learning Resources (α =.84)

13 Results NSS Sub-dimension STEMNon-STEM Teaching3.67 (0.89)3.80 (0.93) Assessment & Feedback3.49 (0.93)3.48 (0.98) Support & Guidance3.54 (0.98)3.48 (1.02) Organisation3.62 (0.95)3.58 (1.00) Resources3.76 (0.99)3.60 (1.04) No significant Class Size or Age differences Significant UCAS entry points differences: STEM 

14 Results MANCOVA revealed significant difference between NSS scores of STEM vs Non-STEM (Wilks Λ =.97, F(6, 1169) = 5.75, p =.000) Resources: STEM > Non-STEM (F(1, 1174) = 5.86, p =.016) Teaching: STEM < Non-STEM (F(1, 1174) = 10.23, p =.001)

15 STEM Status x Sex Interaction (Wilks Λ =.99, F(6, 1169) = 2.75, p =.012) STEM males < non-STEM males & STEM females with Teaching STEM males and non-STEM females < non-STEM males with Assessment and Feedback

16 Satisfaction with Teaching (F(4, 1167) = 2.37, p =.05) NSS ITEMS Non-STEMSTEM ANCOVA (1, 1170) Teaching staff are good at explaining things 3.75 (0.99) 3.61 (1.01) F = 10.36** Teaching staff have made the subject interesting 3.71 (1.03) 3.53 (1.02) F = 15.39*** Teaching staff are enthusiastic about what they are teaching 3.88 (1.08) 3.73 (1.01) F = 11.52** My Programme is Intellectually Stimulating 3.92 (1.10) 3.81 (1.04) F = 8.06* * = p<.01 ** = p<.005 *** = p<.001

17 Good at Explaining Things Made the Subject Interesting Enthusiastic about ContentProgramme Intellectually Stimulating

18 Satisfaction with Assessment & Feedback NSS ITEMS Non- STEM STEM MANCOVA (1, 1170) The Assessment Criteria have been clear and given in advance 3.57 (1.15) 3.76 (1.09) F = 6.84** Assessment arrangements and marking have been fair 3.53 (1.14) 3.56 (1.10) F =.003 NS Feedback on assignments has been within 4 weeks 3.33 (1.28) 3.19 (1.30) F = 7.24** Feedback on assignments has been useful 3.54 (1.20) 3.47 (1.23) F = 4.32* * = p<.05 ** = p<.01

19 Feedback Within 4 WeeksFeedback has been Useful STEM females and Non-STEM females do not differ in satisfaction with feedback STEM Males are less satisfied than non-STEM Males with timing and utility of feedback

20 Conclusions STEM students are generally less satisfied with the quality of teaching, enthusiasm of their teachers and intellectual stimulation of their degree There is also evidence that STEM students are less satisfied with particular assessment practices relating to feedback This may be due to sex differences but needs further exploration (e.g. perceptions of teaching practices, student expectations, parental/school expectations)

21 Conclusions Relative STEM dissatisfaction may be due to STEM vs non-STEM teaching differences; student differences or an issue of expectations and branding HEFCE (2011) and QAA (2012) analyses of student experience both consider subject differences but do not attend sufficiently to patterns in the data Ignoring differences for short-term gains may have significant long-term implications (e.g. recruitment & retention)


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