To Hook Students on STEM, Start With Their Parents

By Judith Harackiewicz

Judith Harackiewicz Elementary School

May 22, 2018

There's a fair amount of hand-wringing about how to get students interested and engaged in STEM subjects. We do know that the pipeline leading to STEM careers begins to leak in high school, when students are faced with decisions about taking advanced mathematics and science classes.

Decades of research show that a key factor motivating adolescents to pursue these advanced courses is the perception of utility value.

Essentially, if a student perceives that taking a calculus or physics class will be useful in daily life or in a future career, the student's motivation to study a course on these subjects increases by 80%.