ASPIRES (Science Aspirations and Career Choice: Age 10-14)

This project, based at King’s College London, investigated science aspirations and career choice among 10-14 year olds. Existing research suggests that at the age of 10, children tend to be interested in science with little evidence of any gender differences in these views. Yet by the age of 14, this interest has significantly declined.

This five year, longitudinal project sought to explore the factors which affect aspirations and engagement with science during this critical period, between the ages of 10 and 14. The research combined a large-scale survey with in-depth interviews to investigate how children form their aspirations and views of science.

We followed children in schools across England from Year 6 using an online survey of over 9,000 pupils and in depth qualitative work with over 180 parents and children. Participants were surveyed and interviewed a further two times when they were in Year 8 and Year 9. Particular attention was given to exploring the interplay of gender, social class, ethnicity and the influence of peers, parents and schools, on young people’s aspirations and engagement with science.

The project also developed, in collaboration with teachers and other experts, strategies for teaching about science-based careers in Key Stage 3.

Principal Investigator: Prof. Louise Archer, King’s College London.


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