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Against a background of disappointing percentages of students choosing exact and technical studies and the academic choice research tradition, a study into the choice of physics in secondary education has been carried out. It focuses on the predictive value of certain characteristics of the curriculum, the differences between schools and the stability of the choice variable. Two cohorts of students in a representative sample of schools filled in written questionnaires, four times in two years. The data were analysed in several ways that complemented each other, including multilevel analysis. The main predictor of the choice of physics in secondary education is perceived future relevance and no significant differences between schools exist. The choice variable is not stable. Many students feel uncertain about their choice of study and profession. Academic choice processes should be more connected with career choice processes. Certain characteristics of the physics curriculum can be expected to further the possibilities for students to experience physics and physics-like contents and problems as being personally meaningful and interesting.
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