A Path Analysis of Student Interest in STEM, with Specific Reference to Qatari Students
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ABSTRACT This study sought to explore the factors that help predict students’ interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in Qatar. Drawing on recent work in the field, the present paper examines the intersection of personal characteristics (gender and grade level) and contextual (teacher) variables, and their association with interest in STEM. The study involved a nation-wide survey of preparatory and secondary levels of education in Qatar implemented in 2015, and data from a sample of 660 preparatory (middle) and secondary (high) school students. Factor analysis extracted five valid dimensions and a path analytic model suggested that student interest in STEM is influenced by teachers, perceptions of homework assignments, self-confidence and intention to pursue further study. Gender and level of education were also identified as variables likely to affect student interest in a STEM field. The paper concludes with important recommendations for policy and suggestions for further study and research.
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