The QIAS project aims to (a) assess precollege Qatari students’ interest in, and attitudes toward, science, and the ways in which these variables change as students move through the precollege school ladder; (b) identify factors that impact students’ interest and attitudes, including their dispositions toward pursuing college science studies and scientifically-biased careers; (c) characterize the prevailing modalities of science teaching in the various types of precollege Qatari schools; and (d) examine the relationship between students’ interest and attitudes and their science learning experiences.
The project draws on a national probability sample that is representative of precollege Qatari students in grades 3 through 12 and their science teachers, as well as of the different types of Qatari schools. Data will be collected using a mixed-methods approach relying on paper-and-pencil convergent-type questionnaires, individual interviews, self-reported teaching inventories, and classroom observations. Project findings will contribute to understanding and explaining, as well as informing possible courses of action to address, the currently evident and alarming trend showing substantially decreased enrollments of Qatari students in university science majors. Such a trend could severely compromise the current major Qatari investments toward increasing Qatar’s science and engineering workforce, as well as its participation in the sciences and knowledge production at large.