[ASC-list] Science in demand this year

Jesse Shore jesse at prismaticsciences.com
Thu Jan 19 02:38:36 UTC 2012

Alison has good recall. Mona Akbari posted the following to the ASC e-list
just before Christmas:





21 December 2011


Australian students abandoning science in years 11 and 12

The number of Australians studying science in years 11 and 12 has fallen
significantly since the 1990s and is continuing to drop, a new report from
the Australian Academy of Science shows.

Released today, The Status and Quality of Year 11 and 12 Science in
Australian Schools found that since 1991 the percentage of year 11 and 12
students enrolled in science subjects has fallen dramatically, from 94.1 per
cent to just 51.42 per cent in 2010.

Lead author of the study, Professor Denis Goodrum of the Australian Academy
of Science, said he was surprised by the extent of the fall.

"The overall drop in science study as a whole is quite staggering," he said.

"What's more, the downward trend appears likely to continue. While the
decrease is slowing, there is no indication that enrolments have reached the
lowest point.

"For a country that believes its future prosperity depends on innovation and
a skilled workforce, this situation needs to be addressed."

Commissioned by Australia's Chief Scientist, Professor Ian Chubb, the study
also highlighted the decline in Australian students' science and maths
literacy, when compared internationally.

"In 2000, two countries performed better than Australia, but in 2009 this
number had risen to six. It is disturbing that while other countries are
improving their science achievement scores, Australia's scores remain static
or have fallen," Professor Goodrum said.

The study authors also interviewed and surveyed students, teachers and
community members to determine attitudes towards science and science

"Almost one-third of non-science students agree that science is important to
Australia's future but few see science as relevant in their own everyday
lives," Professor Goodrum said.

"The belief that students only take science subjects in preparation for
university has resulted in an overcrowded curriculum. This encourages
science to be taught in a traditional way which assumes that students know
little and the role of the teacher is to fill their heads with new facts and

"Both students and teachers find this mode of teaching boring and

Recommendations from the report include:

*	Reduce the amount of content for science subjects to a realistic
*	Support science education programs that capture the interest of year
7 to 10 students
*	Provide more professional learning opportunities for senior science

.        Develop a suite of digital curriculum resources for the new
national curriculum

The Status and Quality of Year 11 and 12 Science in Australian Schools is
available at


Contact Kylie Walker  |  T (02) 6201 9427  |  M 0405 229 152  |  E
kylie.walker at science.org.au







Jesse Shore

President, Australian Science Communicators, 2012

president at asc.asn.au



ASC National Conference 2012, Sydney, 27-29 February



Jesse Shore PhD
Science Communicator
Description: Description:
P:   (02) 9810 2328
M:   0415 841 276
E:     <mailto:jesse at prismaticsciences.com> jesse at prismaticsciences.com
W:   <http://www.prismaticsciences.com/> www.prismaticsciences.com


From: asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au
[mailto:asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au] On Behalf Of Alison Leigh
Sent: Thursday, 19 January 2012 12:56 PM
To: Niall Byrne
Cc: ASC list (asc-list at lists.asc.asn.au)
Subject: Re: [ASC-list] Science in demand this year


That does sound good however I heard something on The Science Show recently
that seemed to be indicating that science uptake at HSC level in Australia
was DOWN by 40%- I made a mental note to find out more - anyone  know ?

Alison Leigh

Editorial Director

World Congress of Science and Factual Producers 

PH +612 9810 7989 

Mob +61 425 264 921





On 19/01/2012, at 12:46 PM, Niall Byrne wrote:

Dear ASCers,


I was contacted by Channel Ten yesterday and asked to comment on the demand
for science places in universities.


I knew nothing, but then looked around a bit and it was good news.


Science at the University of Melbourne was the most popular course in the
Victoria with about  9,000 applications, plus nearly 5,000 for biomedical
courses. The demand has pushed up the entry score (ATAR) up to 90.15. A
decade ago you could get in with a 75.


Science at Monash was the third most popular course with 4500 applications.
(Arts at Melbourne was second).


Health science was the top choice in Adelaide with 9443 applications, up
four per cent on 2011.  Information technology was up 26 per cent.


I'm told that there's similar good news around the country but I've not dug
out the numbers.


This is good news. Is it repeated around the country. And does anyone know
why its happening? What have we (collectively) done right? Or is there some
larger social trend at work?











Niall Byrne


Creative Director

Science in Public

82 Hudsons Road, Spotswood  Vic  3015

PO Box 2076 Spotswood VIC 3015

03 9398 1416, 0417 131 977


 <mailto:niall at scienceinpublic.com.au> niall at scienceinpublic.com.au

Twitter @scienceinpublic

Full contact details at  <http://www.scienceinpublic.com.au>


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