– Although girls appear to be reaching near parity with boys in terms of the gender profile of those
who take Triple Science, the stratification of students remains highly problematic in terms of social class and ethnicity.
– The social profile of those taking Triple Science appears to be skewed towards those from more advantaged social backgrounds.
– The existence of these differential award routes (and their differential status) means that Double Science is strongly associated with (and reinforces) the view among young people that post-compulsory science is ‘not for me’.
– In independent and more affluent schools, Triple Science was the norm and was offered within normal curriculum time to the majority of students. However in other schools, it was offered as an extra-curricular activity for a comparatively small group of students because the school could not accommodate it within the usual timetable.
– Students with higher levels of cultural and science capital seemed more likely to opt for Triple Science. In particular, these students’ parents had advised them about the transferability and status of Triple Science (as an ‘enabling’ choice) and, in some cases, exerted considerable influence to ensure their child took Triple Science.
– In order to assert and justify their own elite positioning, Triple Science students often constructed
those taking Double Science as being ‘bad at science’ (as opposed to just seeing these students as, for instance, being ‘less interested’ in science).
– The authors propose that Triple Science, and the pedagogic work that creates and sustains it,
can be understood as a technology for the reproduction of inequality, that is, the practice of selective
science routes at GCSE promotes and sustains social inequalities because (1) it functions as a filter for
the STEM pipeline (2) it produces symbolic violence, through the association of the Triple Science route with ‘cleverness’ (3) it creates and reinforces differential cultures on the different routes (e.g. ‘excellence’ versus ‘normality’) (4) schools have a differential (inequitable) ability to offer the Triple Science route.
* How the school plays a role in shaping STEM identities.