Encouraging Students in Science

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The skills gap is being bridged in some schools through exercises encouraging students in science.  While unemployment continues to be a problem in many areas, the problem of a skills gap continues to plague industries needing workers highly skilled in science and technology.

Two Northern Illinois University researchers test out their theory of motivation and interest among teenage students, using a setting where Rockford teachers are the ones learning.

“We do sort of have a national deficit in the science technology engineering and math fields where we do not have enough people to fill the jobs that are out there.” -says NIU Associate Professor of Educational Psychology Jennifer Schmidt.

At some point during their time in the classroom, thousands of RPS #205 students will take a science class. If it isn’t your child’s favorite subject, that might come down to how they’re learning it.

Encouraging Students in Science

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“I was curious to think a little bit about how science feels for male and female students when they’re in high school, with the idea that perhaps if science feels differently while you’re in high school it may cause you to make different choices as you move forward in life.” -Schmidt explains.

Schmidt and her colleague, NIU Professor of Educational Psychology Lee Shumow, studied motivation in middle and high school classrooms for three years.

Researchers took down data, calling it ‘science in the moment,’ asking students electronically during their classes if they were working hard or feeling challenged.

“Most studies use surveys after the school year at the end of the school year ‘How interested were you in science?’ well that tells you something, but it doesn’t tell you anywhere near the detail that we had.” Shumow explains.

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