A common aim of many national curricula is the development of students’ 21st century skills. This is frequently predicated upon interdisciplinary STEM teaching and learning. This chapter focuses on the Australian, Irish, and Scottish lower secondary school curricula and presents a comparative analysis of curricular documents from the three countries. The broad trend in international curricular policy has been a move away from content-focused specifications towards increased emphasis on the development of students’ competencies. This chapter analyses the ways in which these three national curricula frame the relationship between the development of 21st century skills and the teaching and learning of STEM, with a focus on how the mathematics curriculum interplays with science. While the curricula tend to have similar aims of incorporating 21st century skills through STEM integration, they differ with respect to the extent to which the subject-specific curricula at lower secondary level acknowledge the importance and relevance of the other STEM subjects. The national curriculum frameworks also vary in how they support practitioners to incorporate 21st century skills development in their teaching; for example, through creating a curricular space for interdisciplinarity. This chapter highlights the implications of curricular policy for the development of students’ 21st century skills in STEM.
Leite, L.; Oldham, E.; Afonso, A. S.; Viseu, F.; Dourado, L.; Martinho, H.