ERIC Number: EJ1035409
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Abstractor: As Provided
K-12 Students' Perceptions of Scientists: Finding a Valid Measurement and Exploring Whether Exposure to Scientists Makes an Impact
Hillman, Susan J.; Bloodsworth, Kylie H.; Tilburg, Charles E.; Zeeman, Stephan I.; List, Henrietta E.
International Journal of Science Education, v36 n15 p2580-2595 2014
This study was launched from a National Science Foundation GK-12 grant in which graduate fellows in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) are placed in classrooms to engage K-12 students in STEM activities. The investigation explored whether the STEM Fellows' presence impacted the K-12 students' stereotypical image of a scientist. Since finding a valid instrument is critical, the study involved (1) determining the validity of the commonly administered Draw-A-Scientist Test (DAST) against a newly designed six-question survey and (2) using a combination of both instruments to determine what stereotypes are currently held by children. A pretest-posttest design was used on 485 students, grades 3-11, attending 6 different schools in suburban and rural Maine communities. A significant but low positive correlation was found between the DAST and the survey; therefore, it is imperative that the DAST not be used alone, but corroboration with interviews or survey questions should occur. Pretest results revealed that the children held common stereotypes of scientists, but these stereotypes were neither as extensive nor did they increase with the grade level as past research has indicated, suggesting that a shift has occurred with children having a broader concept of who a scientist can be. Finally, the presence of an STEM Fellow corresponded with decreased stereotypes in middle school and high school, but no change in elementary age children. More research is needed to determine whether this reflects resiliency in elementary children's perceptions or limitations in either drawing or in writing out their responses.
Descriptors: Elementary School Students, Secondary School Students, Student Attitudes, Graduate Students, STEM Education, Student Surveys, Projective Measures, Measures (Individuals), Stereotypes, Pretests Posttests, Scientists, Comparative Analysis, Sciences, Correlation, Statistical Analysis
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Secondary Education; Elementary Secondary Education; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Sponsor: National Science Foundation
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Maine
Grant or Contract Numbers: DGE-0841361