Moving toward equity by connecting science narratives in STEAM education with statistical models of entropy

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Photo by Te Pania 🦋 on Unsplash

“Hāpaitia te ara tika pūmau ai te rangatiratanga mo nga uri whakatipu | Foster the pathway of knowledge to strength, independence and growth for future generations”

This research from ORUA and Te Pūnaha Matatini begins from the ethical standpoint that all young people in Aotearoa should have a horizon of opportunity open to them to pursue education pathways to STEM professions in Science and Engineering, if they so desire and regardless of their background. Using the Engineering programme at the University of Auckland as an example, evidence points to enormous inequalities in participation for Māori and Pacific students who make up just 10% of the overall Engineering degree cohort [1].

Looking back to the educational pathways that feed into this programme, and forward into the pathways that lead out into the Science and Engineering professions, there is evidence of structural and endemic inequality that shuts off and redirects groups of the population from this rich scientific journey [2].

This transdisciplinary project wishes to make inroads into this story of inequality by using a unique and ground breaking set of approaches that connect the power of stories and personal narratives in STEM education from intermediate school through to the Science and Engineering professions, with a statistical model that places diversity at the heart of its approach and application so that policy goals of equity and diversity can be better measured and pursued.

[1] University of Auckland. (2020). Equity Profile 2021. https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/about-us/about-the-university/equity-at-the-university/about-equity/monitoring–reporting-and-best-practice.htm

[2] Turnbull, S., Meisel, K., Locke, K., & O’Neale, D.R.J. (2020). The Impact of Science Capital on Self-Concept in Science: A Study of University Students in New Zealand. Frontiers in Education (5), https://doi.org/10.3389/feduc.2020.00027