Boys’ interest in STEM careers has dropped over the past year, while girls’ interest remains the same, according to an annual survey from Junior Achievement and Ernst & Young LLP.
Last year, 36 percent of surveyed male high school students said they wanted a STEM career, but this year, only 24 percent reported the same. For two years straight, just 11 percent of female high school students say they want to pursue a STEM profession.
Girls’ low interest in STEM education and careers isn’t exactly new–by middle school, many girls lose interest in and enthusiasm for STEM subjects for a variety of reasons, including the false perception that science, math, and technology classes aren’t “cool,” as well as a lack of female representation in STEM professions. Still, many initiatives and schools are working to combat this trend.
Project-based learning (PBL) might be one way to increase students’ interest in STEM, according to Texas educator George Hademenos. PBL’s student-centered investigation helps students develop creativity and problem-solving and is ideally suited for STEM-centered challenges.