ERIC Number: ED253493
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Aug
Reference Count: 0
Self-Image, Science and Math: Does the Image of the "Scientist" Keep Girls and Minorities from Pursuing Science and Math?
Interest in the relationship between self-image and occupational choice and concern over the low representation of women and minorities in science provided the impetus for this study of 2,442 high school and junior high school students. Self-image ratings were examined with respect to the student's interest in taking science courses. Particular attention was paid to male/female differences and Mexican-American/Anglo-American differences. Results indicated that the commonly held image of the scientist corresponds to the self-image of students with an interest in science insofar as intelligence, self-confidence, independence, and creativity are concerned. Girls also include competetiveness in the image. Variation by gender and ethnic background were found significant in how students evaluated themselves and what additional characteristics were seen as part of the image of scientists. Boys and Anglo-Americans were more likely to see themselves as intelligent and creative. They were also more likely to be interested in science. Contrary to expectations, Mexican-Americans were more interested in taking math than Anglo-Americans. Feedback to girls and minorities about their intelligence may be crucial in raising their interest in science, but it may be difficult to do so because students' self-perceptions develop over many years. (IS)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association (79th, San Antonio, TX, August 27-31, 1984).