How Much Money Does University Math Teachers Make A Yaer Early Intervention At Secondary School To Increase University Enrollments In Computing And Science

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Early Intervention At Secondary School To Increase University Enrollments In Computing And Science

Globally, STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) compete for university enrollment with an ever-increasing range of options, to their detriment. The Australian Institute of Mathematical Sciences revealed that basic maths was growing in popularity among secondary school students at the expense of intermediate or advanced studies. This has resulted in fewer universities offering higher mathematics courses and subsequently fewer mathematics graduates. Therefore, educators are continually looking for innovative ways to attract students to college STEM courses.

First, an examination of the causes of low interest in college STEM programs revealed the following: An October 2011 report from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce (CEW) reported that graduates in American sciences considered traditional scientific careers as “too socially isolated.” “Furthermore, business or liberal arts education was often seen as more flexible in a rapidly changing job market. High school students had the perception that computer and information technology careers were outsourced and not a career locally. They believed the only IT careers available were ‘backroom’ jobs such as data entry. The challenge, says Professor Ian Chubb, head of the Office of the Chief Scientist of Australia, in its Health of Australian Science report (May 2012), is to make STEM subjects more attractive to students. As he points out, maths and science are studied at secondary school, but engineering and technology doesn’t So high school students aren’t getting a “taste” of STEM subjects in a practical, applied context.

To address this situation, on an experimental basis, secondary schools in Australia are conducting a pilot program in computing and technology. In the South Australian state of Victoria, secondary schools will trial the country’s first IT and technology subjects in Year 12, the final year of secondary school. The premise is that the pilot program will give students a taste of the subject, applied to real situations, in order to examine whether it produces an increase in interest and enrollment in related subjects at university level. The pilot is seen as a form of early intervention.

Twelve secondary schools will participate in the pilot program. As a result, up to 120 high school students will undertake the IT program developed by IT and engineering academics from the University of Melbourne and Monash University in partnership with the Department of Education’s Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority and Early Childhood Development. Melbourne and Monash universities are running workshops for teachers and educators about the pilot program, as well as promoting the pilot to parents.

The pilot program is a subject added to the senior curriculum of twelve Victorian state government schools. The subject is a modified version of the first-year computer science curriculum of the two collaborating universities, taught in two ways: face-to-face teaching in the twelve designated secondary schools, and through online subjects.

The pilot computer course is not about teaching students how to use technology, because they already know it. The subject aims to extend your thinking to a level of academic rigor equivalent to upper secondary and pre-university standards. Students will therefore be able to build software and focus on specialist skills such as complex analysis, which are sought after by high-tech employers, thus exploring a multi-disciplinary approach to computer science and engineering. An introduction to the skills required at university level is expected to increase students’ confidence in applied techniques.

University of Melbourne graduates in both IT and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) courses have a 90% employment rate within six months of graduation. The high employment rate is also expected to improve the transition rate from high schools to computer science and STEM courses at university.

The United States and the United Kingdom have had computer science programs in their secondary school curricula for twenty years and the subject is taught within the International Baccalaureate. However, Australia has lagged behind in the introduction of computer science and engineering subjects in secondary school. If the pilot is successful, the subject will be included in the secondary school curriculum of national centres.

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