Contrasting Perceptions of STEM Content and Careers

Contrasting Perceptions of STEM Content and Careers

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Analysis of baseline attitudinal data gathered from a National Science Foundation Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers project uncovered large contrasts between the perceptions of practicing professionals and students toward science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines and careers (Tyler-Wood, Knezek, & Christensen, 2010). These findings have been reconfirmed in a second year analysis based on new data and are reported in this paper. The pattern of findings suggests that university teacher preparation candidates hold attitudes similar to middle school students, while the faculty (the educators of teacher preparation candidates) have attitudes similar to STEM education professionals. Additional findings based on disaggregated data are reported. For example, middle school students appear to have more positive perceptions of science, mathematics, and engineering than do the university preservice teachers surveyed, who are destined to be middle school teachers.

This article is part of a special issue of Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education (CITE).