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Quick Chat: What’s the latest in STEM?

Marie-Claire Shanahan talks girls and science, and how to engage students in the STEM disciplines

Marie-Claire Shanahan

Marie-Claire Shanahan talks OECD PISA tests, girls and science, and how to engage students in the STEM disciplines

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April 24, 2014 - There's been a lot of discussion lately about the OECD PISA tests, and how students in Canada have fared in the triennial examinations given to more than 70 international jurisdictions. 

In the case of the 2012 exam cycle, mathematics was featured, with science, reading and problem solving as additional foci.

For Marie Claire Shanahan, Associate Professor and Research Chair in Science Education in the Werklund School of Education, the tests themselves show that Canada—and Alberta in particular—do quite well when it comes to science.  And she says that if the recent scores are any reflection on students' ability, there shouldn't be too many surprises when science is the featured subject, in the 2015 PISA cycle.

What concerns Shanahan more are some of the discrepancies in the test scores between regions and specific localities throughout the country.  And she says the gender gap in some areas, such as physics or chemical engineering, also needs to be considered. 

This Quick Chat with Shanahan and Carol Ann Burke, post-doctoral fellow supervised by Shanahan, begins with the topic of whether there are enough girls engaged in math and science…..if not, why not…and what can we do about it?

Please watch the Werklund website for additional programs.

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