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Schools that make a difference to post-compulsory uptake of physical science subjects: some comparative case studies in England

Bennett, Judith; Lubben, Fred; Hampden-Thompson, Gillian

Authors

Judith Bennett

Fred Lubben



Abstract

This paper presents the findings of the qualitative component of a combined methods research study that explores a range of individual and school factors that influence the uptake of chemistry and physics in post-compulsory study in England. The first phase involves using the National Pupil Database to provide a sampling frame to identify four matched pairs of high-uptake and low-uptake schools by salient school factors. Case studies of these eight schools indicate that students employ selection strategies related to their career aspirations, their sense of identity and tactics, and their prior experience. The school factors influencing subject choice relate to school management, student support and guidance, and student empowerment. The most notable differences between students in high-uptake and low-uptake schools are that students in high-uptake schools appear to make a proactive choice in relation to career aspirations, rather than a reactive choice on the basis of past experience. Schools with a high uptake offer a diverse science curriculum in the final two years of compulsory study, set higher examination entry requirements for further study and, crucially, provide a range of opportunities for students to interact with the world of work and to gain knowledge and experience of science-related careers.

Citation

Bennett, J., Lubben, F., & Hampden-Thompson, G. (2013). Schools that make a difference to post-compulsory uptake of physical science subjects: some comparative case studies in England. International Journal of Science Education, 35, 663--689. https://doi.org/10.1080/09500693.2011.641131

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2013
Deposit Date Sep 11, 2023
Journal International Journal of Science Education
Print ISSN 0950-0693
Publisher Taylor and Francis Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 35
Pages 663--689
DOI https://doi.org/10.1080/09500693.2011.641131
Keywords Case Study, High School, Career Advice, Subject Choice, Physical Sciences
Public URL https://durham-repository.worktribe.com/output/1728036
Related Public URLs http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/51374/