Students in higher classes make more practical choices while picking subjects for further studies as compared to students at the younger education levels in South India, according to a study. More than half the students of class 11 were keen on picking just science-stream subjects, while merely six per cent of class 8 students preferred to go for only science.
“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,” the study by Vidyartha found.
Of the eighth graders, only a few had their focus solely on science that included physics, chemistry and biology. About 68 per cent seemed to prefer a combination of science and non-science related subjects.
At the tenth grade, the numbers changed significantly. At this stage, up to 47 per cent said they wanted to pick only science subjects as the numbers for other combinations reduced to 34 per cent.
Over 50 per cent of class 11 students were thinking about taking up Physics, Chemistry, Maths and Biology (PCMB) or Physics, Chemistry, Maths and alternate subject (PCM). This is surprising as more than 60 per cent of these students have scored below average marks in multiple choice questions (MCQs) assessments in Physics and Chemistry.
“As disconnect arises between interests and capabilities, gaps appear in learning, and students end up pursuing areas that do not leverage their inherent strengths,” said Vidyartha Co-Founder and Executive Director Priya Mohan.
This brings to light another finding by the survey— about 40 per cent of the students who have scored average to high marks in high critical thinking or problem-solving have been termed as “average” performers in many schools. According to Mohan, this steals away the insight of having a different approach to motivating different students.
“This is a clear indication that benchmarking student learning milestones on just report cards will rob us of many possible insights,” she said.