The Equity Compass: a tool to help make engagement with young people more equitable
10 November 2020
Public Engagement - report Public Engagement - training
The people behind the 'Science Capital' research and projects have a launched a new project focussed on young peoples' engagement with STEM, and how to help make it more equitable. They've released some new publications and tools for those undertaking engagement.
Science Capital (what people know and how they feel about science, and what science-related behaviours they have) is a concept that has been developed following research into young peoples' aspirations and participation in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), to try and understand more about why some people participate in science and others don't. Diversifying STEM is a key challenge for a multitude of reasons, not least to make science more socially just and more effective.
Another project associated with this work has been launched, Youth and Equity in STEM (YESTEM).
"‘Equality’ can mean treating everyone the same, but ‘equity’ means treating each according to their needs to ensure fairer outcomes. Equality does not promote fair practices, since individuals do not necessarily have access to the same opportunities."
YESTEM looks to address fundamental equity issues in informal STEM learning (ISL) in both the UK and US - informal STEM learning being basically all that science related stuff people do outside of formal education (school), so science centres, science clubs, zoos, etc, including all of the STEM engagement that can be undertaken by universities.
The project is launching some new publications and a new too - the equity compass that you might find useful if you're thinking about ways to build equity in your engagement, particularly working with under-served communities.
This tool has been specifically designed for practitioners, i.e., those undertaking engagement and informal science learning work, and also useful for those tasked with thinking of policy in this area.
The compass sets out dimensions that are important for supporting equitable practice along with questions that help you think about putting it into action. The compass can also be used to follow progress.
"Partners who have used the compass say that it has helped them to introduce more participatory approaches, improve professional development and help them to better articulate where they would like to be headed."
Watch a two minute animation below to find out more about the compass tool, and download the materials here.
YESTEM is a four-year research and development project which started in 2017. The project is a Science Learning+ Partnership funded by the National Science Foundation, Wellcome Trust and Economic and Social Research Council.