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Professor Louise Archer (King's College London) - 'I like science, but I don't want to be a scientist': Understanding 10-14 year olds science and career aspirations

This presentation draws on data from the ESRC funded ASPIRES project - an on-going, five year longitudinal study of childrens science and career aspirations.

Research shows that age 10-14 is a critical time during which children's aspirations and ideas about science are formed. The ASPIRES project tracks children in England at ages 10, 13 and 14, via a national survey and repeat interviews with children and parents. This paper reports data from the first two phases - in Year 6 (survey with over 9,000 children; interviews with 170 parents and children) and Year 8 (survey with 5,600 pupils and follow up interviews with 85 young people). The paper discusses the complexity of children's aspirations and attitudes to science demonstrating how liking science does not simply translate into future intentions to study science. The paper outlines what contemporary young people aspire to and how aspirations are formed, with particular reference to the role of family and interactions between family habitus and capital. It discusses some of the key factors affecting children's science aspirations and the reasons why so many children learn from an early age that science is interesting ... but not for me. Implications for policy and practice are outlined.

Event details

Professor_Louise_Archer.pdfProfessor Louise Archer's biography and abstract (128K)
Professor_Louise_Archer.pdfProfessor Louise Archer's PowerPoint presentation (773K)


South Cloisters 15