Higher Education infographic

Closing the gap in STEM

Researchers are investigating ways to reverse the decline in student performance, especially to close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students’ performance in STEM.

Head and shoulders photo of Elizabeth McKinley

Professor Elizabeth McKinley

‘Attempts to engage non-Western students into the subculture of STEM is challenging for STEM teachers,’ said Professor Elizabeth McKinley from the Melbourne Graduate School of Education (MGSE), University of Melbourne.

‘The school system should actively support teachers to build a cultural perspective on teaching STEM and involving the community in helping to create a collaborative learning environment.

‘This will not only enrich the school content but promote a cultural shift of school STEM that facilitates more responsive science teaching.’

Principal Research Fellow of Indigenous Education at ACER, Tony Dreise, and Director of the Educational Monitoring and Research division at ACER, Dr Sue Thomson, propose a renewed and highly targeted approach to improve Indigenous students’ achievement in STEM in the report, Unfinished business: PISA shows Indigenous youth are being left behind.

‘Smart and highly targeted investment in early intervention literacy and numeracy programs, teacher quality improvement, school leadership and personalised learning support are key to turning results around,’ Dr Thomson said.

Professor Elizabeth McKinley and Dr Sue Thomson will be speaking at ACER’s Research Conference 2016, which addresses the theme ‘Improving STEM Learning: What will it take?’ from 7 to 9 August at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.


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