JOBSTEM research findings presented at AERA annual meeting
The annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) took place this month in New York City, between April 13 and April 17, 2018. The aim of the AERA organization is to raise the quality of the educational process through the stimulation of research work and evaluation in educational domain and through the dissemination and application of educational research findings. The topic of this year’s annual meeting was contemporary challenges and needs in the domain of public education. The JOBSTEM project leader, prof. dr. sc. Josip Burusic, held a lecture on April 14, presenting some of the research findings from the Croatian public education system created within the JOBSTEM project. The theme of the lecture was the complex relationship between family characteristics such as parental education and family income and student achievement in the STEM school domain. Professor Burusic first explained why it is important to explore the family processes in the context of STEM education and the so-called STEM problem, and which parent and family constructs are covered in the research of parents that is implemented within the JOBSTEM project. The presented results confirmed some previous findings that indicate that among the various socio-demographic indicators in the family, parent education has the greatest impact on children's academic achievement. Through the lecture, possible mediation mechanisms were discussed in the form of specific parental beliefs and family practices that could explain such finding, especially in the context of STEM education and school achievement. The significant influence of the family in explaining the differences in students’ motivation, achievement, and aspirations in the STEM area, calls for more attention in exploring the variety of family mechanisms in educational research. On the other hand, besides these research efforts, there is an obvious need to design and implement more educational interventions that will target groups such as families and parents, especially socially vulnerable families who have limited access to cultural and social resources important in the context of STEM education.