Making classrooms feel inclusive can help promote STEM education and make students feel capable of working on STEM subjects outside of the classroom, a new study shows.

“We found that kids who feel their high school STEM classrooms are inclusive are more likely to feel like they belong,” says first author Kelly Lynn Mulvey, an associate professor of psychology at North Carolina State University.

“That sense of belonging makes them more likely to engage in the classroom and more likely to feel like they can use STEM to tackle real-world problems.

“We need workers in the STEM workforce, and we know that high school is when interest in STEM subjects declines for many students. We launched this study because we wanted to evaluate the role inclusivity may play in how students view STEM.”

Inclusivity, in this context, refers to the extent to which students feel a classroom is welcoming to different genders and ethnic groups.

For the study, researchers conducted in-depth surveys of 523 students from five high schools: 34.2% of study participants identified as white/European-American; 33.4% as Black/African-American; 10.5% as Latino/Latina/Latine; 13.4% as biracial or other; and 8.5% of participants chose not to report their race/ethnicity.

Read the full article about inclusive STEM classes by Matt Shipman at Futurity.