Gender Differences in Student Attitudes Towards Science in Secondary School Classrooms with Resident Scientists
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The purpose of this two-year study was to examine secondary school students' attitudes about science in four different categories before and after being with PhD graduate students, resident scientists, in their classrooms every week. The study was based upon a National Science Foundation (NSF) program called Project Flowing Waters, a five-year NSF Graduate STEM Fellows in K-12 Education (GK-12) program. The program funded 26 doctoral students, known as NSF GK-12 fellows, who served as bi-weekly resident scientists in science classrooms in local schools. A newly developed science attitude survey, My Attitude Toward Science Scale (MATS) was used to survey students [n=111] Hillman, Zeeman and Tilbury (2016).
Student attitudes were surveyed in four categories (a) the subject of science, (b) the desire to become a scientist, (c) the value of science to the society, and (d) the students' perceptions of scientists. Matched pre and post student attitude surveys were obtained. Seventeen resident scientists/teacher partnerships were analyzed, involving 1111 students, in the 2011/12 and 2012/13 school years using a quantitative design. A control population of students that did not have resident scientists were surveyed in the 2015/16 school. Both pre and post surveys were administered at the beginning and again at the end of the school year. Results indicated significant gender differences male students and male teacher in attitude changes in some but not all of the four categories.