The Field of STEM to Students: Identification & Familiarity

By Lisa Banti

Identification of STEM

This group of questions was aimed at understanding if the respondents were familiar with the acronym STEM and if they knew of people who work in the scientific or technological disciplines.

The respondents turned out to be extremely familiar with the term ‘STEM’. On average, only 54% said they knew the meaning of the term; 63% picked the correct answer explaining the acronym (“Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics”). There was no significant difference in the answers between male and female respondents.

59% of the respondents reported they knew somebody within their close circle who works in technology or science, while the rest did not.

Familiarity with STEM

This group of questions was intended to understand the attitude of the students towards some of the main scientific subjects they study at school, their technical/technological skills and whether gender influences this attitude.

Lab activities were liked by all: on average 88% of the respondents said they enjoyed them, with no major differences between gender or among schools.

Mathematics turned out to be a difficult subject for many, with 46% saying they find it challenging. Here too, between female and male responses the difference was not too substantial (43% of males found it difficult, compared to 47% of females).

Liceo Russell students found mathematics to be less difficult than other schools (70%). MUST students were the ones who encountered the most difficulties with the subject (69%).
Physics proved to be a different story since 55% of the respondents said they thought it was a challenging subject. In this case, a gender difference was noticed as 61% of girls said physics was difficult, while only 47% of boys did.