Increasing STEM education participation: Aboriginal Summer School for Excellence in Technology and Science (ASSETS) Evaluation

Tuesday, 2 July 2019
Dr Christopher Banks
Jen Parsons
Tammy Small
Jessica Fidler

A range of initiatives have sought to increase the participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) study and careers. This presentation will discuss some of the findings from the evaluation of the ASSETS program which is currently funded by BHP Foundation and implemented by CSIRO. ASSETS is a series of 9-day residential summer schools which target high achieving year 10 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. The summer schools are followed by an ongoing leadership and support program as students’ progress through years 11 and 12. They combine personal development opportunities, academic components, and a focus on the interface between Indigenous and western science knowledges. At the Summer Schools students use scientific inquiry to conduct their own independent research and present their results at completion. Evidence will be presented from program monitoring, including several years of survey data from participants and parents, and case study research comprising interviews with ASSETS participants and program partners from one of the summer schools. The presentation will discuss why ASSETS has demonstrated success, including increasing understanding of and confidence pursuing STEM careers, and the implications for the future development of residential STEM summer schools and Indigenous STEM education generally.