ROSE – the Relevance of Science Education is an international comparative research project meant to shed light on factors of importance to the learning of science and technology (S&T) – as perceived by the learners, specifically by students towards the end of secondary school (age 15).

The lack of relevance of the S&T curriculum is probably one of the greatest barriers for good learning as well as for interest in the subject. ROSE has, through international deliberations, workshops and piloting among many research partners, developed an instrument that aims to map out attitudinal or affective perspectives on S&T in education and in society as seen by 15 year old learners. The outcome of the project will be empirical findings and theoretical perspectives that can provide a base for informed discussions on how to improve curricula and enhance the interest in S&T in a way that

  • respects cultural diversity and gender equity
  • promotes personal and social relevance
  • empowers the learner for democratic participation and citizenship.

The key feature of ROSE is to gather and analyse information from the learners about several factors that have a bearing on their attitudes to S&T and their motivation to learn S&T. Examples are: A variety of S&T-related out-of-school experiences, their interests in learning different S&T topics in different contexts, their prior experiences with and views on school science, their views and attitudes to science and scientists in society, their future hopes, priorities and aspirations, their feeling of empowerment with regards to environmental challenges, etc.

In several countries the research groups involved in ROSE are also engaged in the large-scale comparative achievement studies like TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study) and PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment). The purpose of ROSE is not testing of achievement,but rather to address attitudinal and motivational aspects of S&T. Consequently, ROSE will complement the TIMSS an PISA studies by providing different information about the status of science education in the country.

ROSE was launched in 2000, in Norway, by Camilla Schreiner e Svein Sjøberg (University of Oslo) and is supported by The Research Council of Norway, The Ministry of Education in Norway, The University of Oslo and the Norwegian Centre for Science Education. There are now about 40 countries taking part in ROSE: Germany Spain, United Kingdom, Ireland, Austria, Israel, Australia Egypt and several African Countries are among them. United States, France and Italy are still missing. At least by now. From next autumn on, Italian students will be able to take part in the project, thanks to the commitment of Observa – Science in Society and the National Committee of Science Faculties Deans.

Italy, where interest in science and enrolment at scientific university careers are sensibly decreasing, ROSE could be a useful tool: it allows the comparison between Italian and international framework and it may provide insights and suggestions in order to improve education methods for science and technology subjects and to promote the choice of attending a scientific university.

More information on the project and the research network are on the ROSE official website .

The rationale behind the project, including the questionnaire development, theoretical background, procedures for data collection, etc. is described in a publication edited by Camilla Schreiner e Svein Sjøberg, Sowing the seeds of ROSE. Background, Rationale, Questionnaire Development and Data Collection for ROSE (The Relevance of Science Education) – a comparative study of students’ views of science and science education (in pdf).