This Dissertation is based upon a longitudinal qualitative study in which 38 students’ choices of higher education in general, and science, engineering and mathematics (STEM) study programmes in particular, are investigated. More specifically, 20 of the students who encountered a STEM study programme are followed in their transition process into their first year. Narrative psychology provides a platform for understanding students’ choices, transition and decisions of staying or leaving as a social continuous process of constructing an attractive identity. This approach highlights the importance of contextualising students’ choices as rationalised narratives in time. The analysis shows how some of the students find it difficult to match their expectations of higher education STEM with their ideas of an attractive identity. As a result they choose not to continue studying it after upper secondary school. The students who do choose to study STEM at higher education all encounter a gap between their expectations and their actual experiences. In particular, some find it hard to make sense of and relate to the academic content and the teaching and learning activities they are presented for. In this process some of the students struggle with finding it meaningful to stay. In the general discussion and conclusions, implications for higher education institutions are considered in terms of how to support students in making meaningful STEM identities.

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Titel: Students’ Narratives, Negotiations, and Choices: A longitudinal study of Danish students’ transition into higher education science, engineering and mathematics
Forfatter: Henriette Tolstrup Holmegaard
Institution: Institut for Naturfagenes Didaktik, Københavns Universitet
Genre: Ph.d.-afhandling
Omfang: 239
Årstal: 2012