The Relevance of Science Education Project (ROSE)

The Relevance of Science Education Project (ROSE) is an international project, involving over thirty countries, based at the University of Oslo in Norway under the leadership of Professor Svein Sjøberg. The research in England is being conducted by Professor Edgar Jenkins and Nick Nelson at the University of Leeds. The project seeks to establish what students think of their school science classes, what they would like to learn in their school science education, their views about a range of environmental issues, and what research they would wish to undertake if they were practising scientists. The project thus differs from other international comparative studies where the emphasis is on the curriculum as a broad explanatory factor underlying student achievement (TIMSS) or on the extent to which education systems prepare students to become lifelong learners and informed citizens (PISA). It also differs from these studies in including data from a larger number of developing countries. The ROSE project thus reflects the recent growth in interest both in comparative studies and in identifying and responding to the ‘student voice' in science education.

Research methods

Data are collected by a piloted questionnaire developed with the aid of an International Advisory Board. The questionnaire was developed in English with countries translating into other languages as appropriate. Countries may also add their own questions to the questionnaire, although none was added in England. Students complete the questionnaire in their penultimate year of compulsory schooling, i.e., about the age of 15 in England. All data are coded, cleaned and analysed using SPSS, then collected at the University of Oslo which will produce a series of international comparative reports. Country-specific studies are the responsibility of the countries concerned. In the case of England, the report will be based on a usable sample of 1,277 students drawn from schools in different parts of the country. There is a separate ROSE study in Northern Ireland.

Research outcomes

The project attempts

  • to construct national and international databases of students' attitudes towards school science and technology, their out-of-school experiences relevant to the learning of science and technology, their responses to a series of environmental challenges and their views about what they want to learn
  • to explore the reasons for differences in students' responses within and across education systems
  • to identify the implications of the above for policy makers, teachers, curriculum developers and others with respect to such issues as curriculum content and relevance, gender or other forms of equity and career choice.

Full details of the project, together with a number of publications/working papers, appear on the project website1.