What is STEM Interest?

Thursday, April 11, 2019
Resource Type:
Report | Reference Materials
Environment Type: 
Professional Development, Conferences, and Networks, Resource Centers and Networks
Educators/Teachers | Museum/ISE Professionals | Scientists | Evaluators | Learning Researchers
Education and learning science
Center for Advancement of Informal Science Education, University of Washington

The landmark 2009 National Research Council consensus report Learning Science in Informal Environments, posited that learners in informal environments “experience excitement, interest, and motivation to learn about phenomena in the natural and physical world” as one of six strands of informal science learning. In 2016, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Center for Public Engagement with Science and Technology identified “increased interest and motivation” around STEM topics as a short-term, measurable outcome of science engagement activities.  For many professionals who design, evaluate, and research how people learn science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) in informal settings, these findings and developments affirmed a long-held claim that catalyzing interest is one of the key strengths of informal STEM learning and engagement experiences. 

In 2018, the CAISE Evaluation and Measurement Task Force asked a sample of 10 STEM education researchers, science communication scholars, social psychologists, learning scientists, and informal science educators to share their thinking and work on "STEM interest." From those interviews, CAISE produced video clips, conversation highlights, and a summary of what we heard across the 10 interviews, "The Role of Interest in STEM Learning and Science Communication: Reflections on Interviews from the Field."

Funding Program: 
Award Number: 

Team Members

James BellPrincipal Investigator
John BesleyContributor
Mac CannadyContributor
Michelle ChoiProject Manager
Kevin CrowleyCo-Principal Investigator
Amy Grack NelsonContributor
Tina PhillipsContributor
Kelly RiedingerContributor
Martin StorksdieckCo-Principal Investigator

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