The proportion of pupils in pre-university education (vwo) choosing one of the two nature subject clusters has increased steadily. The nature subject clusters have been the most popular choice for a number of years now. Although still fewer girls than boys choose a nature cluster, the gap is narrowing.
Nature more popular than social subject cluster since 2006/’07
Since the introduction of subject clusters in the second stage (years 4 to 6) of vwo in 1998/’99, more pupils have chosen social subject clusters than nature clusters. The popularity of the nature clusters has been increasing, however. In school year 2006/’07 for the first time more pupils chose a nature cluster than a social cluster.
One possible explanation for the increasing popularity of nature subject clusters is the introduction of the new style second stage system in secondary education; as a result, the composition of the subject clusters changed.
Choice of subject clusters in vwo, years 4-6, 2003/’04-2009/’10*
More girls in particular choosing nature clusters
Although fewer girls than boys choose a nature cluster, the gap is closing. Relatively many girls choose the nature and health subject cluster, but the proportion of girls choosing the nature and technology cluster and the combination of the two nature clusters is increasing. The difference in popularity between nature and social clusters has decreased for girls; nearly just as many girls choose a nature cluster.
Subject clusters chosen by girls in vwo, years 4-6, 2003/’04-2009/’10*
More boys, too, choose nature clusters
More boys in vwo, too, are choosing a nature cluster. The nature and technology cluster and the combination of the two nature clusters in particular were more popular among boys. While the numbers of girls choosing nature and social clusters are evening out, for boys the numbers are diverging.
Subject clusters chosen by boys in vwo, years 4-6, 2003/’04-2009/’10*
Similar trend for havo pupils
Although pupils in senior general secondary education (havo) more often choose a social subject cluster, these pupils are showing the same tendency as vwo pupils. The number of havo pupils choosing a nature subject cluster is increasing, and here too the increase is larger for girls than for boys.
Arjan de Wit