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ERIC Number: EJ883666
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Mar
Pages: 18
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 25
ISSN: ISSN-0950-0693
Maintaining Positive Attitudes toward Science and Technology in First-Year Female Undergraduates: Peril and Promise
Machina, Kenton; Gokhale, Anu
International Journal of Science Education, v32 n4 p523-540 Mar 2010
This study investigated attitude changes of 18-year-old first-year college students at a large state-operated institution in the USA during their initial semester in college. Attitudes of 375 students enrolled in a non-science first-year student seminar during the Fall of 2004 were measured, using a new instrument designed to focus on five attitude constructs especially relevant to female engagement with science and technology (S & T). The authors found that students whose seminar included visits with S & T professionals, plus at least four weeks of context-based S & T content, maintained modestly positive attitudes toward S & T. Students whose seminars included the science content but not the visits from professionals also maintained relatively positive attitudes, except that the females became less accepting of female participation in S & T. Notably, females enrolled in seminars that did not include any of these interventions declined significantly in all five attitudes toward S & T, even though 95% of these students were simultaneously enrolled in required introductory natural science courses. Thus, introducing context-based science content into the curriculum appears to be helpful in maintaining positive attitudes toward S & T in 18-year-old US female college students, while more traditional natural science pedagogy is associated with attitude decline in these students. This result is socially significant because females continue to be under-represented in several S & T fields at the level of first university degree, in many regions of the world. (Contains 4 tables.)
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Illinois