Influences on interest in STEM during a Pre-university program
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With a predicted shortage of qualified people for many jobs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) extra attention to the development of students’ interest in STEM is required. This study gains an insight into the influence on the interests in STEM of students enrolled in a pre-university program called UTalent. A comprehensive set of interests of the participants are identified and both educational and social factors of influence on interest development are taken into account. This research consists of two parts. The first part is conducted on all the participants of the first year of the U-Talent program (n =95) and included the analysis of motivation letters and questionnaires. The second part was a qualitative multiple case study conducted on a small part of the population and includes data of a diary app and in-depth interviews. The research showed that participants of U-TA are broad interested with a preference for STEM. The most important factors of influence indicated by the research are U-TA, parents, conditions as free will, variation, elaboration, competence and challenge and remaining interests.