ERIC Number: ED216868
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Mar
Reference Count: 0
Sex Differences in Science: "I Don't Know."
deBenedictis, Tina; And Others
Three possible reasons for sex-related differences in science performance of 17 year olds were examined by analyzing total scores in three National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) science booklets. Variables examined included spatial ability, attitudes toward science, and the use of the "I don't know" response. Because of an uneven distribution of spatial items across difficulty levels and a lack of attitudinal items in some of the booklets, this study focused on the "I don't know" response. A male-female difference in total scores was found with males scoring higher than females on pertinent items in all three booklets. Females used the "I don't know" response more often than males in one book and, in general, more often on items related to physical sciences. Several explanations are suggested as to why females may use the "I don't know" response more often than males: (1) they are more lacking in science knowledge than males, (2) they are more willing to admit their lack of knowledge, and (3) they are unwilling to take risks. (DC)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: National Assessment of Educational Progress; Science Education Research
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (New York, NY, March 18-23, 1982).