Motivating rural students in STEM: Practices contributing to student engagement with STEM in Rural Victorian schools

Steve Murphy

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter in textbook/reference bookpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


A significant but largely overlooked equity issue in STEM education is the relatively low engagement and performance of rural students in STEM. Students from rural schools tend to achieve more poorly in the STEM disciplines and are less likely to engage in further STEM study than their metropolitan counterparts. This chapter reports on findings of an Australian project examining STEM education success in rural Victorian government schools. The project investigated the STEM practices of four schools that consistently attracted higher enrolments and achieved stronger results in senior STEM subjects, compared with similar rural schools. This chapter presents a cross case synthesis of practices that appear to contribute to the STEM success of these schools, and discusses the findings in relation to theoretical models of motivation and academic emotion. The four rural schools employed a complex array of practices to improve student engagement in STEM, including: holding high expectations while providing generous support, place-based learning, STEM enrichment opportunities, and differentiated mathematics programs. While the practices employed are not restricted to rural schools, each school felt their rural nature facilitated these engaging practices.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSTEM education across the learning continuum
Subtitle of host publicationEarly childhood to senior secondary
EditorsAmy MacDonald, Lena Danaia, Steve Murphy
Place of PublicationSingapore
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9789811528217
ISBN (Print)9789811528200
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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