This report examines students’ attitudes towards science in Years 7 and 8, and looks at what it might mean for their interest and engagement with science in their later years of schooling.
The report draws on a literature review conducted by UK and Australian science educators for an international perspective. We analyse New Zealand data from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and National Education Monitoring Programme (NEMP), as well as findings from NZCER’s longitudinal study Competent Children/Competent Learners. We also look at patterns from the trial data for a new NZCER tool, “Me and My School”, that measures students’ overall engagement with school, and from other NZCER research.
We describe an emergent trend towards disengagement with science in the middle years, and analyse why that is occurring. We go on to look at ways to address it, including specific policy recommendations.