STEM Skills in Australian High Schools

STEM (an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) is of increasing focus in Australia and internationally at the school as well as workforce level. This research seeks to articulate a range of STEM skills suitable for development at high school (in Years 7-10 in particular) to help better prepare today's students for tomorrow's world. Furthermore, it is important to identify successes and challenges currently being faced by teachers in the development of these skills with their students so that schools may be better supported in achieving this goal. Finally, assessment of these skills is required to gain an understanding of how Australian students compare internationally as well as whether strategies being employed within schools are leading to better skill development.

In 2014 the Office of the Chief Scientist released a paper titled 'Benchmarking Australia in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics' which considered a wide range of aspects of STEM in Australia. In terms of how Australia's students stand amongst their international peers performance in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) were used. Thus both of these will be examined regarding the extent to which they assess different STEM skills. Australian Year 7-10 teachers of STEM subjects will also be surveyed regarding the extent to which they develop and assess STEM skills with their students, their perspectives on how the Australian Curriculum supports them in this, and the model of STEM employed by their schools.