Does Knowledge and Situational Interest Support Personal Interest: A Health Education Study

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High quality K-12 STEM education and assessment complement and support each other, and is a national priority along with improving science literacy and expanding the number of youths capable of entering science and healthcare careers. One new program is responding to these needs by developing and distributing science enrichment materials to middle schools in the Midwest. In concert, we are developing and validating multilevel assessments of student learning and interest in science and healthcare careers to assess and strengthen understanding of how personal and situational interest change during STEM instruction. We demonstrate that the Assessment of Interest in Medical Sciences (AIMS) displays high reliability for personal and situational interest and a related Science and Health Literacy Assessment has moderate reliability. We also demonstrate that gains in situational interest do significantly support gains in personal interest. These assessments are continuing to be refined, together with the program’s enrichment materials, through reiterative cycles of implementation in partnership with the schools, teachers and students. Here we describe the most recent developmental studies of these assessments.


This was presented at the National Association for Research in Science Teaching Annual Conference in Baltimore, MD in April of 2016.