The STEAM-Active (Project Number: 2021-1-ES01-KA220-HED-000032107) project is funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). Neither the European Union nor EACEA can be held responsible for them.

Which role models are effective for which students? A systematic review and four recommendations for maximizing the effectiveness of role models in STEM

Partners' Institution
DHBW – Baden-Wuerttemberg Cooperative State University
Year of publication
Educational stage
Secondary Level, University Level
Journal name
International Journal of STEM education
Thematic Area
Gender Inequality, Students’ Difficulties
Exposing students to role models is an fairly effective tool for diversifying science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). STEM role models' have an positive effect on student motivation. Target is to maximize role models' impact as a tool for diversifying STEM. Key features of the role models are: their perceived competence, their perceived similarity to students, and the perceived attainability of their success.

Think of: which role models are efeective for which student?
Four concrete recommendations for ensuring that STEM role models are motivating for students of all backgrounds are discussed:
• Role models portrayed as being competent and successful
• Role models portrayed as being meaningful similar
• Prioritizing exposure to role model traditionally underrepresented in STEM
• Role models’ success is attainable
Relevance for Complex Systems Knowledge
The gained results of using role models would be a possible approach for our project. However, the paper is missing concrete role descriptions and examples, it’s quite abstract.
Point of Strength
Take the final recommendations into account if choosing the role model concept.
Role models, mindset theory, attribution theory