Where did the STEM Love Go?

canada2067 | Educators |

To explore the attitudes of Canadian students toward science education, Amgen Canada and Let’s Talk Science commissioned Angus Reid to survey 500 students aged 16 to 18 in 2010.

First, the good news…

A high percentage of students recognize the importance of a science education–82% agree that science offers them many different career options, and 92% agree that studying science can lead to a well-paid career. And 72% agree that science has relevance to their everyday lives.


When students are asked about their actual intentions, only 25% say they have a lot of interest in taking science at a postsecondary level.

38% say they have some interest.

So why the lack of interest?

  • 47% say they don’t need another science course to graduate from high school

  • 27% say they’re not interested in science
  • 14% feel as though the courses they’ve 
already taken have adequately prepared them for everyday life

In 2010, the Canada Foundation for Innovation commissioned Ipsos Reid to conduct the Canadian Youth Science Monitor, a national survey of the views of 2,600 students, ages 12 to 18, about the sciences. They found that…

Interest in science falls by age

  • 78% of 12 and 13 year-olds are very or somewhat interested in science, 67% of 14 to 16 year-olds and 58% of 17 to 18 year-olds
  • 2 out of 5 don’t see how science will have relevance in their work.
  • And just over 1/2 of students think studying science will be at least somewhat important to their careers
  • That said, 39% say studying science won’t be important at all to their future careers

Science is important, but is it considered fun?

  • Nearly 78% say it’s important to have an understanding of science.
  • 3 in 5 say “interesting” describes science, compared to only 1 in 5 who used the term “boring.”

Here’s where it gets complicated…

  • 59% of students described science as “complicated” and “difficult”
  • 52% thought it was “fun”
  • 46% thought is was “cool”
  • and 39% thought it was inspiring

Source: Spotlight on Science Learning: A Benchmark of Canadian Talent