As students graduate to higher classes, their choice of subjects is mainly driven by practical considerations and not by aptitude and interest, a study has revealed. “Students, who graduate to higher classes give way to practical considerations, such as peer pressure, parental expectations, perception of future earning opportunities and career stability in their selection of subjects,” according to a study by Vidyartha. For the survey, data was collected from 5,000 students studying in Class 8 to 12 across South India. The survey also found that higher critical thinking skills are not necessarily restricted to the toppers.
Only six per cent students in Grade 8 showed interests in ‘only’ science related fields that required physics, chemistry and biology, while 68 per cent showed interest in both science and non-science related areas, it said.
As these students progressed to Grade 10, this data changes to 47 per cent preferring ‘only’ science related fields while 34 per cent showed interests in both science and non-science related areas, it added.
Further, over 50 per cent students were keen on taking the PCMB (Physics, Chemistry, Maths and Biology) or PCM (Physics, Chemistry, Maths and alternate subject) group of subjects in Grade 11, despite 60 per cent of them having scored below average marks in the application based multiple choice questions (MCQs) assessments in Physics and Chemistry.
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“As disconnect arises between interests and capabilities, gaps appear in learning, and students end up pursuing areas that do not leverage their inherent strengths,” Vidyartha Co-Founder and Executive Director Priya Mohan said.
The survey further revealed that 40 per cent students having above average to high scores in high critical thinking or problem-solving skills on a relative ranking basis are considered only ‘average’ performers in school.
“This is a clear indication that benchmarking student learning milestones on just report cards will rob us of many possible insights. Importantly, this insight suggests that the students who exhibit high critical thinking skills may need a different motivation and approach towards school education,” Mohan added.