Student Attitudes toward STEM: The Development of Upper Elementary School and Middle/High School Student Surveys

Malinda Faber, Alana Unfried, Eric N. Wiebe, Jeni Corn, LaTricia Walker Townsend, Tracey Louise Collins

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The national economy is in need of more engineers and skilled workers in science, technology, and mathematics (STEM) fields who also possess competencies in critical-thinking, communication, and collaboration – also known as 21st century skills. In response to this need, educational organizations across the country are implementing innovative STEM education programs designed in part to increase student attitudes toward STEM subjects and careers. This paper describes how a team of researchers at The Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at North Carolina State University developed the Upper Elementary School and Middle/High School Student Attitudes toward STEM (S-STEM) Surveys to measure those attitudes. The surveys each consist of four, validated constructs which use Likert-scale items to measure student attitudes toward science, mathematics, engineering and technology, 21st century skills. The surveys also contain a comprehensive section measuring student interest in STEM careers. The surveys have been administered to over 10,000 fourth through twelfth grade students in North Carolina who are participating in a variety of traditional classroom-based, elective, or informal STEM education programs. In the paper the authors explain the survey development and validation process. The report also summarizes baseline findings about student attitudes toward STEM subjects, careers, and 21st century skills, demonstrating how this survey can be a useful tool for innovative STEM education and workforce development programs.
Original languageAmerican English
Journal2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition
StatePublished - Jun 23 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Curriculum and Instruction

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