Interests, Social Relations and the Preference for Study and Future Profession of Talented Students Participating in a Gifted Program for Science and Mathematics
Vlies, J. van der
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Introduction: Interest is often thought to be a key factor in predicting and stimulating students to choose a study and career in STEM' Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. This study aims to denote an understanding of science and mathematics interest in relation to other aspects of life like social relations, and the preference of study and career. Method: This research concerns N = 86 Dutch grade 12 students (38 male and 48 female) enrolled in a gifted science and mathematics program that aims to foster the talent and motivation of gifted students. A survey containing propositions, open-ended and closed-ended questions is used to point out the multiple aspects of interests. Results: Analysis showed that participants had multiple interests and were mostly interested in STEM disciplines. Participants' STEM interest was predicted by the self-proclaimed importance of their friends [b = .27, t (86) = 2.59, p < .001] and gifted program [b = .18, t (86) = 2.60, p = .011]. Students chose predominantly for a STEM study or future profession reasoned that it mostly interested them. Conclusion: Results confirmed previous research indicating the importance of a STEM supportive peer group for the interest of students. This research denotes an understanding of gifted students and reveals that even for STEM motivated students gender differences do occur. This research was limited using only a survey, interviews are recommended to reveal deeper reasoning to choose or not to choose study or future profession.