ERIC Number: ED362400
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992
Girls and Science Careers: Positive Attitudes Are Not Enough.
Moffat, Nancy; And Others
The question of why so few women enter scientific fields of study is important to American society. This paper examines two questions concerning the career aspirations of students: (1) What attitudes do students have about science and careers in science? and (2) How do variables such as classroom structure, grade level, gender, peer influence, parents, and role models affect these attitudes? A classroom structure method assessment was given to 40 classes, 10 from each of the following grades: 2, 5, 8, and 11. From these classes, two distinct types of classroom structures at each grade level (16 classrooms) were selected and these students were given a measure of Individual Versus Group Attitudes Towards Science (n=408). Approximately 10 students from each group were interviewed and given open-ended sentence completion tests. Two types of classroom structures emerged: cooperative student-centered and competitive teacher-centered. Students who expressed interest in science careers in the interviews could name specific adult role models who sparked an interest in science for them. Student attitude towards science decreased with increasing grade. One of the most serious implications from the data is that so many students are relatively unclear about career options in science. Early career development may be especially critical for females, who frequently correlated taking future math and science courses only with a decision to pursue a career in science. (PR)
Descriptors: Career Choice, Career Education, Classroom Research, Cooperative Learning, Elementary School Science, Elementary School Students, Elementary Secondary Education, Females, Role Models, Science Careers, Science Education, Secondary School Science, Secondary School Students, Sex Differences, Student Attitudes, Student Centered Curriculum, Teaching Methods
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching (Boston, MA, March 1992).