ERIC Number: ED318536
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1989
Reference Count: N/A
Persistence in Science: Gender and Program Differences.
Boisset, Annick; And Others
This study was conducted to investigate persistence rates and gender differences among science students at John Abbott College (JAC). Issues addressed in the study included the differences between students persisting in and those transferring out of science programs, female representation in science programs at JAC, and the differences, if any, between male and female students' performance in science courses and their reasons for transferring out of science. All students accepted into science programs for fall 1986 were mailed an admissions survey which solicited data on educational background, reasons for choosing science, university plans, and perceptions of factors which influenced their enrollment and performance in science. A very high return rate yielded 455 usable surveys. For the next four semesters, all students who requested a change of program filled out a questionnaire designed to identify their reasons for leaving the program. After winter 1988, transcripts were studied for academic performance and to confirm data. Study findings included the following: (1) female representation (37.6%) was much lower than male representation in the science programs; (2) females enrolled at a much higher rate in health science (22.2%) than in pure and applied science (15.3%); (3) female students had significantly higher overall grade point averages after four semesters than the males; (4) in health sciences, females enrolled in basic courses rather than advanced courses much more often than males; (5) only 20% of the male students graduated after four semesters, compared to 32% of the females; (6) transferees out of science subsequently chose programs in commerce and social sciences; (7) both genders, but particularly the females, perceived themselves as having little control over their lack of success; (8) both males and females ranked chemistry as the most difficult subject; and (9) female persisters' parents tended to be more highly educated than female transferees' parents, but no such differences were found for males. The survey instrument and student comments are appended. (WJT)
Descriptors: Academic Achievement, Academic Persistence, Community Colleges, Females, Foreign Countries, Majors (Students), Males, Questionnaires, School Surveys, Science Education, Science Interests, Science Programs, Sex Differences, Student Attitudes, Student Attrition, Student Characteristics, Two Year College Students, Two Year Colleges
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: John Abbott Coll., Sainte Anne de Bellevue (Quebec).