Journal Menu
Submit Manuscript via ScholarOne

EURASIA Journal of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education
Volume 13, Issue 6 (June 2017), pp. 1575-1603

DOI: 10.12973/eurasia.2017.00686a

Downloaded 286 times.

Research Article

Published online on Mar 27, 2017

How to reference this article?


The Status of Science and Technology Relative to Other School Subjects. Results of a Study Conducted on Primary and Secondary School Students in Quebec

Abdelkrim Hasni, Patrice Potvin & Vincent Belletête


In recent decades, many studies have examined students’ interest in science and technology (S&T) at school. However, few investigations have studied this interest in a manner that accounts for the status that students assign to this subject relative to other subjects in the curriculum. The main objective of this article is to conduct such an examination. To assess this issue, three dimensions have been considered: ease, relative preference, and relative importance. This study, which included 2,571 students, reveals that S&T occupies an intermediate position relative to other subjects, with only slight differences between boys and girls. However, there are important differences across school years: 1) S&T is perceived to be increasingly difficult as students’ progress in their schooling; 2) relative preference for S&T decreases during the primary-secondary school transition but subsequently rises; and 3) the relative importance of S&T increases compared with all other subjects as students advance in their education. Significant correlations are observed between the latter two dimensions and students’ intentions to pursue studies or careers in S&T.

Keywords: school subjects, interest in S&T, S&T careers, relative importance of S&T, relative preference of S&T.

  1. Aschbacher, P.R., Ing, M., & Tsai, S.M. (2014). Is science me? Exploring middle school students’ STE-M Career Aspirations. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 23(6), 735-743. doi: 10.1007/s10956-014-9504-x
  2. Adesoji, F. A., & Raimi, S. M. (2004). Effects of enhanced laboratory instructional technique on senior secondary students' attitude toward chemistry in Oyo Township, Oyo State, Nigeria. Journal of Science Education and Technology13(3), 377-385. doi: 10.1023/B:JOST.0000045465.81437.3b
  3. Ainley, M., & Ainley, J. (2011). A cultural perspective on the structure of student interest in science. International Journal of Science Education, 33(1), 51-71. doi: 10.1080/09500693.2010.518640
  4. Ainley, M., Corrigan, M., & Richardson, N. (2005). Students, tasks and emotions: identifying the contribution of emotions to students' reading of popular culture and popular science texts. Learning and Instruction, 15(5), 433-447. doi: 10.1016/j.learninstruc.2005.07.011
  5. Ainley, M., Hidi, S., & Berndorff, D. (2002). Interest, learning, and the psychological processes that mediate their relationship. Journal of Educational Psychology, 94(3), 545-561. doi: 10.1037//0022-0663.94.3.545
  6. Alexander, J. M., Johnson, K. E., & Kelley, K. (2012). Longitudinal analysis of the relations between opportunities to learn about science and the development of interests related to science. Science Education, 96(5), 763-786. doi: 10.1002/sce.21018
  7. Badri, M., Al Mazroui, K., Al Rashedi, A., & Yang, G. (2016). Variation by gender in Abu Dhabi high school students’ interests in physics. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 25(2), 232-243.
  8. Baram-Tsabari, A., & Yarden, A. (2011). Quantifying the Gender Gap in Science Interests. International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 9(3), 523-550.
  9. Baram-Tsabari, A., Sethi, R. J., Bry, L., & Yarden, A. (2010). Identifying students' interests in biology using a decade of self-generated questions. EURASIA Journal Of Mathematics, Science & Technology Education, 6(1), 63-75.
  10. Barmby, P., Kind, P. M., & Jones, K. (2008). Examining changing attitudes in secondary school science. International Journal of Science Education, 30(8), 1075-1093. doi: 10.1080/09500690701344966
  11. Bates, S. P., Galloway, R. K., Loptson, C., & Slaughter, K. A. (2011). How attitudes and beliefs about physics change from high school to faculty. Physical Review Special Topics - Physics Education Research, 7(2), 020114-1-020114-8. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.7.020114
  12. Bennett, J., & Hogarth, S. (2009). Would you want to talk to a scientist at a party? High school students' attitudes to school science and to science. International Journal of Science Education, 31(14), 1975-1998. doi:10.1080/09500690802425581
  13. Bernstein, B. (1971). On the classification and framing of educational knowledge. In M. Young (Ed.), Knowledge and control. New directions for the sociology of education (pp. 47-69). London: Collier-Macmillan.
  14. Bernstein, B. (1997). À propos du curriculum. In, J-C. Forquin (Ed.), Les sociologues de l'éducation américains et britanniques. Présentation et choix de textes (pp. 165-171). Bruxelles: De Boeck Université.
  15. Brotman, J.S, & Moore, F.M. (2008). Girls and science: A review of four themes in the science education literature. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 45(9), 971-1002. doi: 10.1002/tea.20241.
  16. Buccheri, G., Gurber, N. A., & Bruhwiler, C. (2011). The impact of gender on interest in science topics and the choice of scientific and technical vocations. International Journal of Science Education33(1), 159-178. doi: 10.1080/09500693.2010.518643
  17. Caleon, I. S., & Subramaniam, R. (2008). Attitudes towards science of intellectually gifted and mainstream upper primary students in Singapore. Journal of Research in Science Teaching45(8), 940-954. doi: 10.1002/tea.20250
  18. Cavas, P. (2011). Factors affecting the motivation of Turkish primary students for science learning. Science Education International, 22(1), 31-42.
  19. Cheung, D. (2009). Students' attitudes toward chemistry lessons: the interaction effect between grade level and gender. Research in Science Education39(1), 75-91. doi: 10.1007/s11165-007-9075-4
  20. Christidou, V. (2011). Interest, attitudes and images related to science: combining students' voices with the voices of school science, teachers, and popular science. International Journal of Environmental and Science Education6(2), 141-159.
  21. Colley, A., Comber, C., & Hargreaves, D.J. (1994a). Gender effects in school subject preferences. Educational Studies, 20(1), 13–18. doi: 10.1080/0305569940200102
  22. Colley, A., Comber, C., & Hargreaves, D.J. (1994b). School subject preferences of pupils in single sex and co-educational secondary schools. Educational Studies, 20(3), 379–385. doi: 10.1080/0305569940200306
  23. Colley, A., & Comber, C. (2003). School subject preferences: age and gender differences revisited. Educational Studies, 29(1), 59-67. doi : 10.1080/03055690303269
  24. Commission européenne (2008). Les jeunes et la science. Rapport analytique. Commission européenne, Direction générale de la recherche.
  25. Desy, E. A., Peterson, S. A., & Brockman, V. (2011). Gender differences in science-related attitudes and interests among middle school and high school students. Science Educator20(2), 23-30.
  26. Forquin, J.-C. (1997). Les Sociologues de l'éducation américains et britanniques. Bruxelles: De Boeck Université.
  27. George, R. (2006). A cross-domain analysis of change in students' attitudes toward science and attitudes about the utility of science. International Journal of Science Education28(6), 571-589. doi: 10.1080/09500690500338755
  28. Hannover, B., & Kessels, U. (2004). Self-to-prototype matching as a strategy for making academic choices. Why high school students do not like math and science. Learning and Instruction14(1), 51-67. doi: 10.1016/j.learninstruc.2003.10.002
  29. Hasni, A., Lenoir, Y. Larose, F., & Squalli, H. (2012). Interdisciplinarité et enseignement des sciences, technologies et mathématiques au premier cycle du secondaire : place; modalités de mises en œuvre; contraintes disciplinaires et institutionnelles. Rapport de recherche. Partie 1 : les résultats de l’enquête par questionnaire. Centre de recherche sur l’enseignement et l’apprentissage des sciences (CREAS), Université de Sherbrooke.
  30. Hasni, A. & Potvin, P. (2015). Student’s Interest in Science and Technology and its Relationships with Teaching Methods, Family Context and Self-Efficacy. International Journal of Environmental and Science Education, 10(3), 337-366.
  31. Haussler, P. (1987). Measuring students’ interest in physics-design and results of a cross-sectional study in the federal republic of germany. International Journal of Science Education, 9(1), 79-92. doi: 10.1080/0950069870090109
  32. Haussler, P., & Hoffmann, L. (2002). An intervention study to enhance girls’ interest, self-concept, and achievement in physics classes. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 39(9), 870–888. doi: 10.1002/tea.10048
  33. Hendley, D., Stables, S., & Stables, A. (1996). Pupils’ subject preferences at Key Stage 3 in South Wales. Educational Studies, 22, 177–187. doi: 10.1080/0305569960220204
  34. House, J. D. (2009). Classroom instructional strategies and science career interest for adolescent students in Korea: Results from the TIMSS 2003 assessment. Journal of Instructional Psychology36(1), 13-19.
  35. Jenkins, E. W., & Nelson, N. W. (2005). Important but not for me: Students' attitudes towards secondary school science in England. Research in Science and Technological Education, 23(1), 41-57. doi: 10.1080/02635140500068435
  36. Jones, M.G., Howe, A., & Rua, M.J. (2000). Gender differences in students’ experiences, interests, and attitudes toward science and scientists. Science Education, 84, 180–192. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1098-237X(200003)84:2<180::AID-SCE3>3.0.CO;2-X
  37. Jovanovic, J., & King, S. S. (1998). Boys and girls in the performance-based science classroom: who’s doing the performing? American Educational Research Journal, 35, 477–496. Retrieved from
  38. Juuti, K., Lavonen, J., Uitto, A., Byman, R., & Meisalo, V. (2010). Science teaching methods preferred by Grade 9 students in Finland. International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 8(4), 611-632. doi: 10.1007/s10763-009-9177-8
  39. Jocz, J. A., Zhai, J., & Tan, A. L. (2014). Inquiry learning in the singaporean context: Factors affecting student interest in school science. International Journal of Science Education, 36(15), 2596-2618.
  40. Kanter, D. E., & Konstantopoulos, S. (2010). The impact of a project-based science curriculum on minority student achievement, attitudes, and careers: the effects of teacher content and pedagogical content knowledge and inquiry-based practices. Science Education94(5), 855-887. doi: 10.1002/sce.20391
  41. Kirikkaya, E. B. (2011). Grade 4 to 8 primary school students’ attitudes towards science: Science enthusiasm. Educational Research and Reviews, 6(4), 374-382.
  42. Krapp, A., & Prenzel, M. (2011). Research on interest in science: Theories, methods, and findings. International Journal of Science Education, 33(1), 27-50. doi: 10.1080/09500693.2010.518645
  43. Krstovic, M., Brown, L., Chacko, M., & Trinh, B. (2008). Grade 9 astronomy study: Interests of boys and girls studying astronomy at Fletcher's Meadow secondary school. Astronomy Education Review, 7(2), 18-24. doi: 10.3847/AER2008017
  44. Lamb, R. L., Annetta, L., Meldrum, J., & Vallett, D. (2012). Measuring science interest: rasch validation of the science interest survey. International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 10(3), 643-668. doi: 10.1007/s10763-011-9314-z
  45. Lenoir, Y. & Hasni, A. (2010). Interdisciplinarity in Quebec Schools: 40 Years of Problematic Implementation. Issues in Integrative Studies, 28, 238-294.
  46. Murphy, C., Ambusaidi, A., & Beggs, J. (2006). Middle East Meets West: Comparing Children's Attitudes to School Science. International Journal of Science Education, 28(4), 405-422. doi: 10.1080/09500690500339696
  47. Murphy, C., & Beggs, J. (2003). Children’s perceptions of school science. School Science Review, 84, 109–116.
  48. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development [OECD] (2006). Evolution of student interest in science and technology studies: Policy report. Paris: OECD Global Science Forum.
  49. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development [OECD] (2008). Encouraging student interest in science and technology studies. Paris: OCDE.
  50. Osborne, J., Simon, S., & Collins, S. (2003). Attitudes towards science: A review of the literature and its implications. International Journal of Science Education, 25(9), 1049–1079. doi: 10.1080/0950069032000032199
  51. Ourisson, G. (2002). Désaffection des étudiants pour les études scientifiques. Rapport soumis au Ministère de l'Éducation nationale. Paris : France.
  52. Owen, S., Dickson, D., Stanisstreet, M., & Boyes, E. (2008). Teaching physics: students' attitudes towards different learning activities. Research in Science & Technological Education, 26(2), 113-128. doi: 10.1080/02635140802036734
  53. Pell, T., & Jarvis, T. (2001). Developing attitude to science scales for use with children of ages from five to eleven years. International Journal of Science Education, 23(8), 847-862. doi: 10.1080/09500690010016111
  54. Pitfiled, M. (2013). The impact of curriculum hierarchies on the development of professional self in teaching: student-teachers of drama negotiating issues of subject status at the interface between drama and English. Pedagogy, Culture & Society, 21(3), 403-426. doi : 10.1080/14681366.2012.759137
  55. Porchet, M. (2002). Les jeunes et les études scientifiques: les raisons de la ‘désaffection’; un plan d'action. Paris : Ministère de l'éducation nationale.
  56. Potvin P., & Hasni A. (2014) Interest, motivation and attitude towards science and technology at K-12 levels: a systematic review of 12 years of educational research. Studies in Science Education, 50(1), 85–129. doi:10.1080/03057267.2014.881626
  57. Renninger, K.A., & Hidi, S. (2011). Revisiting the conceptualization, measurement, and generation of interest. Educational Psychologist, 46(3), 168-184. doi: 10.1080/00461520.2011.587723
  58. Rice, J. K. (2001). Explaining the negative impact of the transition from middle to high school on student performance in mathematics and sciences. Educational Administration Quarterly, 37(3), 372-400. doi: 10.1177/00131610121969352
  59. Ruthven, K. (2011). Using international study series and meta-analytic research syntheses to scope pedagogical development aimed at improving student attitude and achievement in school mathematics and science. International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 9, 419–458.
  60. Schraw, G., & Lehman, S. (2001). Situational Interest: A review of the literature and directions for future research. Educational Psychology Review, 13(1), 23–52. doi: 10.1023/A:1009004801455
  61. Schreiner, C. (2006). Exploring a ROSE-garden: Norwegian youth’s orientations towards science—seen as signs of late modern identities. (Doctor Scientiarum), University of Oslo, Olso.
  62. Sorge, C. (2007). What happens? Relationship of age and gender with science attitudes from elementary to middle school. Science Educator, 16(2), 33-37.
  63. Swarat, A., Ortony, A., & Revelle, W. (2012). Activity matters: Understanding student interest in school science. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 49(4), 515 – 537.
  64. Tuan, H.-L., Chin, C.-C., & Shieh, S.-H. (2005). The development of a questionnaire to measure students' motivation towards science learning. International Journal of Science Education, 27(6), 639-654. doi: 10.1080/0950069042000323737
  65. van Griethuijsen, R. F., van Eijck, M. W., Haste, H., den Brok, P. J., Skinner, N. C., Mansour, N., & BouJaoude, S. (2015). Global patterns in students' views of science and interest in science. Research In Science Education, 45(4), 581-603.
  66. Vedder-Weiss, D., & Fortus, D. (2011). Adolescents' declining motivation to learn science: inevitable or not? Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 48(2), 199-216. doi: 10.1002/tea.20398
  67. Wang, T. L. & Berlin, D. (2010). Construction and validation of an instrument to measure Taiwanese elementary students’ attitudes toward their science class. International Journal of Science Education, 32(18), 2413-2428. doi: 10.1080/09500690903431561
  68. Young, M. (1971). Knowledge and control. New directions for the sociology of education. London: Collier-Macmillan.
  69. Young, M. (1997). Les programmes scolaires considérés du point de vue de la sociologie de la connaissance. In J.-C. Forquin (Ed.), Les sociologues de l'éducation américains et britanniques. Présentation et choix de textes (pp. 173-199). Bruxelles: De Boeck Université.
  70. Zeyer, A., & Wolf, S. (2010). Is there a relationship between brain type, sex and motivation to learn science? International Journal of Science Education, 32(16), 2217-2233. doi: 10.1080/09500690903585184