This study investigates national trends in students’ science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) occupational expectations by using Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2000, 2003, and 2006 data. The analyses in this study revealed several noteworthy national trends in STEM occupational expectations. In many countries students’ computing or engineering (CE) occupational expectations changed between PISA 2000 and PISA 2006, while students’ health service (HS) occupational expectations remained constant. In particular, many developed countries experienced downward national trends in CE occupational expectations among top performers in science. This study also found gender differences in national trends in STEM occupational expectations. In many countries boys’ CE occupational expectations decreased between PISA 2000 and PISA 2006, while girls’ occupational expectations remained unchanged in both CE and HS fields. Finally, the gender gaps in CE occupational expectations converged in many countries, but this convergence was not due to increases in CE occupational expectations among girls, but rather decreases in expectations among boys. Because one of the policy goals in many countries is to promote engagement in STEM education and occupations among students, especially academically talented students, the current findings – national declines in CE occupational expectations among top academic performers – will most likely be viewed as problematic in several countries. Future research should use data collected over longer periods to investigate whether students’ interest in STEM education and occupations increased or decreased in a variety of countries, and whether these patterns varied by student characteristics and performance levels. Moreover, future research must focus on factors that can explain the national trends in student interest in STEM education and occupations.
This research was supported by a grant from the American Educational Research Association which receives funds for its “AERA Grants Program” from the National Science Foundation under Grant #DRL-0941014. Opinions reflect those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the granting agencies.
Han, S.W. (2017), "From Achievement to Non-Test Outcomes in PISA: National Trends in STEM Career Expectations", The Impact of the OECD on Education Worldwide (International Perspectives on Education and Society, Vol. 31), Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 17-60. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1479-367920160000031002Download as .RIS
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