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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Gender differences in science achievement tests Farkas, Sandra Irene 1986

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GENDER DIFFERENCES IN SCIENCE ACHIEVEMENT TESTS by SANDRA IRENE FARKAS B.Sc; U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a , 1976 A THESIS SUBMITTED I N PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES, DEPARTMENT OF MATHEMATICS AND SCIENCE THE UNIVERSITY OF B R I T I S H COLUMBIA We a c c e p t t h i s t h e s i s a s c o n f o r m i n g t o t h e r e q u i r e d s t a n d a r d THE UNIVERSITY OF A p r i l S a n d r a I r e n e B R I T I S H COLUMBIA 1986 F a r k a s 1986 I n p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t o f t h e r e q u i r e m e n t s f o r an a d v a n c e d d e g r e e a t t h e U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a , I a g r e e t h a t t h e L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e a n d s t u d y . I f u r t h e r a g r e e t h a t p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e c o p y i n g o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y p u r p o s e s may be g r a n t e d by t h e h e a d o f my d e p a r t m e n t o r by h i s o r h e r r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . I t i s u n d e r s t o o d t h a t c o p y i n g o r p u b l i c a t i o n o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l g a i n s h a l l n o t be a l l o w e d w i t h o u t my w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n . * The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a 2075 W e s b r o o k P l a c e V a n c o u v e r , C a n a d a V6T 1W5 AB STRACT The p r i m a r y i n t e n t o f t h i s s t u d y was t o e x a m i n e t h e p o s s i b l e r o l e o f e a r l y l e a r n i n g e x p e r i e n c e s i n c o n t r i b u t i n g t o s e x - r e l a t e d d i f f e r e n c e s i n s e l e c t e d s c i e n c e a c h i e v e m e n t i t e m s . The s c i e n c e a c h i e v e m e n t i t e m s were drawn f r o m t h e 1982 BC S c i e n c e A s s e s s m e n t on t h e b a s i s o f a d i f f e r e n c e i n P v a l u e ( p e r c e n t c o r r e c t ) o f 10% o r g r e a t e r b e t w e e n m a l e s a n d f e m a l e s . The i t e m s w e r e a d m i n i s t e r e d t o a g r o u p o f 23 8 h i g h s c h o o l s t u d e n t s r a n d o m l y s e l e c t e d f r o m t h r e e s c h o o l s i n t h e V a n c o u v e r S c h o o l D i s t r i c t . The m a j o r d a t a b a s e f o r t h i s s t u d y was o b t a i n e d t h r o u g h i n t e r v i e w i n g 15 s t u d e n t s w i t h t h e b a s i c q u e s t i o n , "Can y o u t e l l me w h a t y o u w e r e t h i n k i n g when y o u c h o s e y o u r a n s w e r f o r q u e s t i o n 1.. 2.. ?" T h e i n t e r v i e w s w e r e a u d i o - t a p e d , t r a n s c r i b e d , and c o n d e n s e d i n t o f i v e m a j o r c a t e g o r i e s w h i c h p r o v i d e d t h e m a i n a n a l y t i c a l f r a m e w o r k f o r t h e s t u d y . Among t h e s i g n i f i c a n t f i n d i n g s o f t h i s s t u d y were: 1. B o y s ' e x p l a n a t i o n s f o r t h e i r r e s p o n s e s t o t h e t e s t i t e m s r e f e r r e d t o c o n s i d e r a b l y more i n f o r m a l l e a r n i n g e x p e r i e n c e s t h a n g i r l s . 2. G i r l s ' e x p l a n a t i o n s f o r t h e i r r e s p o n s e s t o t h e t e s t i t e m s r e f e r r e d t o c o n s i d e r a b l y more f o r m a l l e a r n i n g e x p e r i e n c e s t h a n b o y s . 3. E v e n t h o u g h g i r l s u s e d more f o r m a l e x p e r i e n c e s t h a n b o y s t o j u s t i f y t h e i r a n s w e r s , t h e i r p e r f o r m a n c e was s t i l l s u b s t a n t i a l l y l o w e r t h a n b o y s f o r t h e m a j o r i t y o f t e s t i t e m s . 4. G i r l s e x p r e s s e d some n e g a t i v e r e a c t i o n s t o a number o f t e s t i t e m s , p a r t i c u l a r l y i t e m s i n t h e p h y s i c a l s c i e n c e s . 5. A s u b s t a n t i a l number o f g i r l s e x p r e s s e d u n c e r t a i n t y i n t h e i r r e s p o n s e s f o r a number o f i t e m s . N o n e o f t h i s u n c e r t a i n t y a p p e a r e d among t h e b o y s . T h e f i n d i n g s o f t h i s s t u d y s u g g e s t t h a t p r i o r e x p e r i e n c e s a p p e a r t o c o n t r i b u t e t o some o f t h e s e x -r e l a t e d d i f f e r e n c e s o b s e r v e d i n t h e s c i e n c e a c h i e v e m e n t i t e m s . I t a p p e a r s f r o m t h i s s t u d y t h a t i n f o r m a l e x p e r i e n c e s r e i n f o r c e a n d e n h a n c e s c h o o l l e a r n i n g a n d c o u l d p o s s i b l y r e s u l t i n s u p e r i o r p e r f o r m a n c e l e v e l s . i i i TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE ACKNOWLEDGMENTS i ABSTRACT i i L I S T OF TABLES v i CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY 1 PROBLEM STATEMENT 4 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY 5 II REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE 6 INTRODUCTION 6 BIOLOGICAL FACTORS 8 SOCIO-CULTURAL FACTORS 10 EXPERIENTAL FACTORS 13 I I I METHODOLOGY 20 INTRODUCTION 20 DESIGN OF THE STUDY 20 A . THE TEST 20 B . THE INTERVIEW 23 C . THE SAMPLE 24 DATA COLLECTION 26 A . TEST ADMINSTRATION 26 B . INTERVIEW PROCEDURES 27 DATA ANALYSIS 2 8 i v CHAPTER PAGE IV RESULTS AND DISCUSSION 31 THE FIRST RESEARCH QUESTION 33 THE SECOND RESEARCH QUESTION 36 THE THIRD RESEARCH QUESTION 49 THE FOURTH RESEARCH QUESTION 53 V CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS 57 DISCUSSION OF THE MAJOR FINDINGS 57 CONCLUSION 64 IMPLICATIONS 66 RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FUTURE RESEARCH 68 APPENDIX A 7 0 APPENDIX B 86 BIBLIOGRAPHY 95 v LIST OF TABLES TABLE 1 2 3 4 PAGE CLASSIFICATION OF TEST ITEMS BY DOMAIN 22 AND CONTENT AREA MALE/FEMALE RESPONSES FOR SELECTED SCIENCE ACHIEVEMENT ITEMS FOR RESULTS FROM CURRENT STUDY AND 1982 B . C . SCIENCE ASSESSMENT 25 NUMBER OF RESPONSES BY CATEGORY FOR MALES AND FEMALES 32 PERCENTAGE OF BOYS AND GIRLS RESPONSES BY CATEGORY 37 P E R C E N T A G E S OF 1983 S A M P L E R E S P O N D I N G POSITIVELY TO ITEMS CONCERNING SCIENCE A C T I V I T I E S , BY GENDER 44 v i ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS F i r s t o f a l l , I w o u l d l i k e t o t h a n k my t h e s i s a d v i s o r , G a a l e n E r i c k s o n f o r h i s c o n t i n u a l e n c o u r a g e m e n t a n d a d v i c e t h r o u g h o u t t h e y e a r . S e c o n d l y , I w o u l d l i k e t o t h a n k R e g i n a l d W i l d , a m e m b e r o f my c o m m i t t e e , f o r h i s k e e n i n s i g h t a n d s u g g e s t i o n s . F i n a l l y I w o u l d l i k e t o e x t e n d my a p p r e c i a t i o n t o w a r d s a l l t h e s t u d e n t s and t e a c h e r s who p a r t i c i p a t e d i n t h e r e s e a r c h . W i t h o u t t h e i r c o o p e r a t i o n a n d s u p p o r t t h i s t h e s i s w o u l d n ' t h a v e been p o s s i b l e . v i i 1 . CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY In Canada by t h e y e a r 20 00 i t i s e s t i m a t e d t h a t two o u t o f e v e r y t h r e e women o v e r t h e age o f 20 w i l l be i n t h e l a b o u r f o r c e . I n a w o r l d w h e r e t h e i m p a c t o f s c i e n c e and t e c h n o l o g y i s b e c o m i n g i n c r e a s i n g l y i m p o r t a n t , o v e r 62% o f C a n a d i a n women a r e e m p l o y e d i n t h e c l e r i c a l , s a l e s , and s e r v i c e s e c t o r o f t h e economy. ( P h i l i p s and P h i l i p s , 1 9 8 3 ) . A s t u d y c o m p l e t e d by t h e S c i e n c e C o u n c i l o f Canada r e v e a l e d t h a t more women t h a n men l a c k n o t o n l y t h e s k i l l s t o do j o b s i n t h e t e c h n o l o g i c a l a r e a s , b u t a l s o t h e q u a l i f i c a t i o n s r e q u i r e d f o r a d m i s s i o n t o r e q u i r e d t r a i n i n g p r o g r a m s (Who T u r n s t h e W h e e l ? , 1982) . R e s e a r c h i n d i c a t e s t h a t f e w e r g i r l s t h a n b o y s e n r o l l i n s c i e n c e and m a t h c o u r s e s i n s e n i o r h i g h and t h a t g i r l s have c o n s i s t e n t l y l o w e r s c o r e s on s t a n d a r i z e d a c h i e v e m e n t e x a m i n a t i o n s i n t h e p h y s i c a l s c i e n c e s (Comber a n d K e e v e s 1 9 7 3 ; E r i c k s o n a n d E r i c k s o n 1984; NAEP 1 9 7 8 ) . A s a c o n s e q u e n c e , f e w g i r l s e n r o l l i n u n i v e r s i t y s c i e n c e c l a s s e s and even f e w e r women become s c i e n t i f i c p r o f e s s i o n a l s . E x p l a n a t i o n s w h i c h a t t e m p t t o r a t i o n a l i z e t h e d i s c r e p a n c y b e t w e e n m a l e s o v e r f e m a l e s on a c h i e v e m e n t t e s t s and e n r o l l m e n t p a t t e r n s i n t h e p h y s i c a l s c i e n c e s h a v e b e e n b a s e d on h y p o t h e s i z e d s o c i o l o g i c a l a n d b i o l o g i c a l f a c t o r s . W h i l e many a u t h o r s a r g u e t h a t t h e b i o l o g i c a l b a s i s i s weak ( K i m b a l l , 1 9 8 1 ; McGee, 1979; 2 Sherman, 1978) some s o c i a l f a c t o r s seem t o be w o r k i n g t o g i v e b o y s a n e a r l y l e a r n i n g a d v a n t a g e i n s c i e n c e . Numerous s t u d i e s have e x a m i n e d s u c h s o c i o l o g i c a l f a c t o r s a s c u l t u r e , a t t i t u d e o f b o y s and g i r l s t o s c i e n c e , c l a s s r o o m i n s t r u c t i o n , p e e r s , c o u n s e l l o r s , and p a r e n t a l i n f l u e n c e ( E r i c k s o n and E r i c k s o n , 1984; K e l l y , 1 9 8 1 ; 1978; Sherman, 1 9 7 8 ) . S e v e r a l a u t h o r s ( Dwyer, 1979; E r i c k s o n and E r i c k s o n , 1984; J o h n s o n a n d M u r p h y , 1984; K e l l y , 1981; W h e e l e r and H a r r i s , 1981) have e x a m i n e d t h e n a t u r e o f t h e a c t u a l t e s t i t e m s f o r p o s s i b l e e x p l a n a t i o n s o f t h e d i s c r e p a n c y b e t w e e n m a l e and f e m a l e a c h i e v e m e n t i n s e l e c t e d c o n t e n t a r e a s . W h e e l e r a n d H a r r i s (1981) h y p o t h e s i z e d t h a t t e s t s w h i c h e m p h a s i z e i t e m s r e q u i r i n g s p a t i a l v i s u a l i z a t i o n a s o p p o s e d t o i t e m s s t r e s s i n g v e r b a l and a l g e b r a i c c o n t e n t m i g h t m i t i g a t e a g a i n s t good t e s t p e r f o r m a n c e i n g i r l s . E r i c k s o n and E r i c k s o n (1984) e x a m i n e d t e s t r e s u l t s f r o m a BC S c i e n c e A s s e s s m e n t a n d d i s c o v e r e d t h a t b o y s t e n d e d t o o u t s c o r e g i r l s on i t e m s w h i c h t e s t e d t h e u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f s c i e n t i f i c k nowledge and a p p l i c a t i o n o f s c i e n t i f i c k n o w l e d g e i n t h e p h y s i c a l s c i e n c e a r e a s . However, i n t h e b r o a d g o a l a r e a o f p r o c e s s s k i l l s , w h i c h was d e f i n e d by t h e a s s e s s m e n t t e a m as a m e a s u r e o f t h e a b i l i t y t o u n d e r s t a n d t h e l o g i c o f s c i e n c e and t o r e a s o n i n a s c i e n t i f i c c o n t e x t , no d i f f e r e n c e s w e r e f o u n d a t any g r a d e l e v e l . I n a n o t h e r s t u d y Dwyer (1979) s u g g e s t e d 3 t h a t m a l e s a c h i e v e h i g h e r s c o r e s t h a n f e m a l e s when t h e i t e m s a r e s e t i n c o n t e x t s t h a t a r e p r i m a r i l y s c i e n t i f i c , m e c h a n i c a l , b u s i n e s s , p r a c t i c a l a f f a i r s o r m a t h e m a t i c s . F e m a l e s a c h i e v e h i g h e r s c o r e s t h a n m a l e s when i t e m c o n t e x t i s d r a w n f r o m t h e a r t s a n d h u m a n i t i e s a n d i s b a s e d on an u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f human r e l a t i o n s h i p s . E x p l a n a t i o n s a c c o u n t i n g f o r t h e s e d i f f e r e n c e s i n a c h i e v e m e n t on m u l t i p l e c h o i c e t e s t s have a l l u d e d t o t h e p o s s i b l e r o l e o f e a r l y e x p e r i e n c e i n p r o v i d i n g m a l e s w i t h a l e a r n i n g a d v a n t a g e i n t h e s c i e n c e s . F o r example, E r i c k s o n and E r i c k s o n (1984) a r g u e t h a t s o c i o - c u l t u r a l f a c t o r s a r e w o r k i n g t o g i v e m a l e s an e a r l y e x p e r i e n t i a l a d v a n t a g e i n many s c i e n c e a r e a s . T h e y d e t e r m i n e d f r o m t h e 1 9 7 8 BC S c i e n c e A s s e s s m e n t d a t a t h a t t h e r e w e r e r e l a t i v e l y l a r g e s e x d i f f e r e n c e s i n i n d i v i d u a l i t e m s w h i c h t e s t e d k nowledge more t y p i c a l l y e n c o u n t e r e d i n a boy's s p h e r e o f e x p e r i e n c e . The N a t i o n a l A s s e s s m e n t s t u d y c o m p l e t e d by NAEP (1978) r e v e a l e d m a r k e d d i f f e r e n c e s i n e x t r a c u r r i c u l a r a c t i v i t i e s b e t w e e n b o y s a n d g i r l s . S e c o n d a r y s c i e n c e g i r l s p a r t i c i p a t e d l e s s o f t e n t h a n b o y s i n a l l t h e e x t r a c u r r i c u l a r s c i e n c e a c t i v i t i e s s t u d i e d . K e l l y (1981) r e p o r t e d t h a t m a l e s may have d i f f e r e n t t y p e s o f e a r l y l e a r n i n g e x p e r i e n c e s w h i c h m i g h t h e l p t h e m i n t h e i r s c i e n c e s t u d i e s . She s u g g e s t s t h a t b o y s a r e t a u g h t t o p l a y w i t h c a r s , t r u c k s , a n d m e c h a n i c a l i t e m s w h i l e g i r l s g e n e r a l l y p l a y w i t h d o l l s , a n i m a l s , and s o f o r t h . T h e s e s o r t s o f a c t i v i t i e s f o r b o y s c o u l d 4 l e a d t o a b e t t e r u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f s c i e n c e c o n c e p t s l a t e r o n . I n s p i t e o f t h e s e c o n j e c t u r e s , a c t u a l r e s e a r c h s t u d i e s e x a m i n i n g t h e r o l e p l a y e d by e x p e r i e n c e h a s b e e n s c a r c e w i t h l i t t l e f i r m e v i d e n c e d o c u m e n t e d i n t h i s a r e a . C l e a r l y , t h e r o l e o f e x p e r i e n c e i n e x p l a i n i n g some o f t h e a b o v e i s s u e s r e l a t e d t o t h e women i n s c i e n c e i s a n a r e a t h a t s h o u l d be e x a m i n e d i n c l o s e r d e t a i l . T h e p r i m a r y i n t e n t o f t h i s s t u d y w a s t o c a r r y o u t s u c h a n e x a m i n a t i o n . PROBLEM STATEMENT T h i s t h e s i s a d d r e s s e d t h e f o l l o w i n g g e n e r a l q u e s t i o n : Can t h e s e x - r e l a t e d d i f f e r e n c e s , w h i c h have b e e n o b s e r v e d i n s e l e c t e d s c i e n c e a c h i e v e m e n t i t e m s , be a t t r i b u t e d i n p a r t t o d i f f e r e n c e s i n t h e e v e r y -day e x p e r i e n c e s o f m a l e s and f e m a l e s ? T h i s b r o a d q u e s t i o n was b r o k e n down i n t o more s p e c i f i c q u e s t i o n s w h i c h a r e a s f o l l o w s : 1. Can t h e e v e r y d a y e x p e r i e n c e s o f b o y s and g i r l s be i d e n t i f i e d and c a t e g o r i z e d by t h e e x p l a n a t i o n s p r o v i d e d by s t u d e n t s t o e x p l a i n t h e i r c h o i c e s on a s e t o f s c i e n c e a c h i e v e m e n t i t e m s ? 2. A r e t h e r e s e x - r e l a t e d d i f f e r e n c e s i n t e r m s o f t h e s e e x p l a n a t o r y c a t e g o r i e s ? 5 3. A r e t h e r e any r e l a t i o n s h i p s b etween s e x - r e l a t e d d i f f e r e n c e s i n t h e s e c a t e g o r i e s and t e s t i t e m c o n t e x t s ? 4. I s t h e r e any e v i d e n c e t h a t t h e c o n t e x t o f t h e i t e m i n f l u e n c e s t h e s t u d e n t s ' a f f e c t i v e r e s p o n s e t o t h a t i t e m ? LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY T h i s s t u d y was d e s i g n e d l a r g e l y as an e x p l o r a t o r y s t u d y t o e x a m i n e t h e p o s s i b l e r o l e o f e x p e r i e n c e i n c o n t r i b u t i n g t o s e x - r e l a t e d d i f f e r e n c e s i n s e l e c t e d s c i e n c e t e s t i t e m s . T h e i n t e r v i e w s a m p l e w h i c h c o n s i s t e d o f 15 v o l u n t e e r s f r o m a l a r g e r g r o u p o f 238 s t u d e n t s , c a n n o t be c o n s i d e r e d t o be a t o t a l l y r a n d o m s a m p l i n g o f t h e p o p u l a t i o n . H o w e v e r , t h e p e r f o r m a n c e o f t h e s t u d e n t s f r o m T a b l e 2 s u g g e s t t h a t t h e i r p e r f o r m a n c e i s r e p r e s e n t a t i v e o f t h e l a r g e r p o p u l a t i o n . V a l i d i t y c a n i n c r e a s e o n l y i f s i m i l i a r r e s e a r c h w i t h l a r g e r m o re r e p r e s e n t a t i v e g r o u p s o f s t u d e n t s be c o n d u c t e d . CHAPTER I I REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE INTRODUCTION The u n d e r a c h i e v e m e n t o f g i r l s i n t h e p h y s i c a l s c i e n c e s i s now a w e l l d o c u m e n t e d p h e n o m n a i n t h e l i t e r a t u r e . I n t e r e s t s p a r k e d i n t h i s a r e a s t e m s i n p a r t f r o m t h e i n c r e a s i n g a w a r e n e s s o f t e c h n o l o g y a n d j o b c h a n g e s a n d t h e r e s u l t s o f t w o m a j o r s u r v e y s : t h e I n t e r n a t i o n a l A s s o c i a t i o n s f o r t h e E v a l u a t i o n o f E d u c a t i o n a l A c h i e v e m e n t ( I E A ) a n d t h e N a t i o n a l A s s e s s m e n t o f E d u c a t i o n a l P r o g r e s s (NAEP). The I E A s u r v e y c o n d u c t e d i n t h e e a r l y 70's i n o v e r 19 c o u n t r i e s d i s c o v e r e d t h a t b o y s s c o r e d h i g h e r t h a n g i r l s i n t h e p h y s i c a l s c i e n c e s a n d t h i s t r e n d i n c r e a s e d t h r o u g h o u t t h e y e a r s o f s e c o n d a r y s c h o o l i n g . A n u m b e r o f o t h e r a s s e s s m e n t p r o g r a m s h a v e c o n f i r m e d t h e s e f i n d i n g s . (BC S c i e n c e A s s e s s m e n t , 1978; 1982; NAEP, 1 9 7 8 ) . Not o n l y was i t e s t a b l i s h e d t h a t f e m a l e s had l o w e r s c o r e s on a r a n g e o f i t e m s f r o m t h e p h y s i c a l s c i e n c e s , b u t t h e y h a d c o n s i d e r a b l y l o w e r e n r o l m e n t s i n t h e p h y s i c a l s c i e n c e s . S c o t t (1982) h a s g a t h e r e d d a t a on e n r o l m e n t and a c h i e v e m e n t p a t t e r n s among g i r l s i n h i g h s c h o o l i n C a nada. Her s t u d y r e v e a l e d t h a t f e w e r g i r l s t h a n b o y s a r e s t u d y i n g s e n i o r m a t h a n d p h y s i c s . She f o u n d t h a t t h e p e r c e n t a g e o f g i r l s i n e a c h g r a d e who were e n r o l l e d i n 7 p h y s i c s v a r i e d f r o m a l o w o f 8.6% i n N e w f o u n d l a n d t o a h i g h o f 25.2% i n New B r u n s w i c k . I n e a c h p r o v i n c e t h e number o f b o y s e n r o l l e d i n p h y s i c s w e r e t w o t o t h r e e t i m e s g r e a t e r t h a n g i r l s . T h i s o b s e r v a t i o n was i n a c c o r d a n c e w i t h t h e p a t t e r n s o f s c i e n c e e n r o l m e n t i n t h e U n i t e d K i n g d o m r e p o r t e d by K e l l y . She s u m m a r i z e s t h e im m e n s i t y o f t h i s p r o b l e m : H a l f t h e p o p u l a t i o n o f t h e c o u n t r y - t h e f e m a l e h a l f i s m i s s i n g o u t on s c i e n c e e d u c a t i o n . M o s t g i r l s a r e r e c e i v i n g o n l y a r u d i m e n t a r y e d u c a t i o n i n p h y s i c a l s c i e n c e ( K e l l y 1978, p 18). T h i s d i v e r g e n c e b e t w e e n boys and g i r l s a c h i e v e m e n t a n d e n r o l m e n t p a t t e r n s h a s p r o m p t e d s t u d i e s a i m e d a t o f f e r i n g s o m e r e m e d i e s o r a t b e s t s o m e p o s s i b l e e x p l a n a t i o n s f o r t h e s e d i f f e r e n c e s . A l t h o u g h i t has been g e n e r a l l y a c c e p t e d t h a t t h e s e d i f f e r e n c e s e x i s t , t h e p r o p o s e d u n d e r l y i n g c a u s e s o f t h i s s i t u a t i o n a r e v a r i e d . Some r e s e a r c h e s a r g u e t h a t s o c i e t y i s a t f a u l t , w h i l e o t h e r a r g u e t h a t f e m a l e s a r e d e s t i n e d by t h e i r s e x t o be d i s t i n c t f r o m m a l e s . I t i s t h i s c o m p l e x i t y o f u n d e r l y i n g c a u s e s t h a t o f f e r no s i m p l e s o l u t i o n s t o t h e p r o b l e m . R e s e a r c h c a n s u g g e s t and o f f e r s t r a t e g i e s b o t h i n a n d o u t o f t h e c l a s s r o o m . T h i s c h a p t e r b r i e f l y r e v i e w s some o f t h e c u r r e n t f a c t o r s w h i c h have been o f f e r e d a s p o t e n t i a l e x p l a n a t i o n s f o r t h e v a r i a t i o n i n s c i e n c e a c h i e v e m e n t b e t w e e n m a l e s and f e m a l e s . T h e s e f a c t o r s c an be d i s c u s s e d i n t e r m s o f 8 t h r e e b r o a d c a t e g o r i e s : b i o l o g i c a l , s o c i o - c u l t u r a l , and e x p e r i e n t i a l . BIOLOGICAL FACTORS U n t i l r e c e n t l y , t h e l i t e r a t u r e has p l a c e d a heavy e m p h a s i s o n b i o l o g i c a l t h e o r i e s a s p o s s i b l e e x p l a n a t i o n s f o r t h e v a r i a t i o n i n s c i e n c e a c h i e v e m e n t b e t w e e n b o y s an d g i r l s . A d d i t i o n a l l y , e x p l a n a t i o n s o f m e t a b o l i c a n d h o r m o n a l o r i g i n h a v e b e e n p o s t u l a t e d t o a c c o u n t f o r t h e d i f f e r e n c e s i n a c h i e v e m e n t b e t w e e n b o y s and g i r l s . Of t h e s e e x p l a n a t i o n s and t h e o r i e s , i n c l u d i n g t h e X - l i n k e d t h e o r y and t h e b r a i n l a t e r a l i z a t i o n t h e o r y , t h e b r a i n l a t e r i z a t i o n t h e o r y e m e r g e s a s t h e m o s t e m p i r i c a l l y s o u n d . The m a j o r f o c u s o f t h e r e s e a r c h i n v o l v i n g t h i s t h e o r y h a s c e n t e r e d on v a r i a t i o n s i n s p a t i a l a b i l i t i e s b e t w e e n t h e s e x e s . I t h a s b e e n s h o w n t h r o u g h v a r i o u s s t u d i e s t h a t s p a t i a l v i s u a l i z a t i o n ( a b i l i t y t o m a n i p u l a t e an o b j e c t or p a t t e r n i n t h e mind) i s h i g h e r f o r m a l e s t h a n f e m a l e s , (Gray, 1982; Maccoby and J a c k l i n , 1974; S k o l n i c k e t a l , 1 9 8 2 ) . Why s p a t i a l a b i l i t y i s h i g h e r f o r m a l e s t h a n f e m a l e s i s a c c o u n t e d f o r by t h e b r a i n l a t e r a l i z a t i o n t h e o r y . B r i e f l y t h i s t h e o r y r e f e r s t o t h e n o t i o n t h a t t h e l e f t a n d r i g h t s i d e s o f t h e b r a i n a r e s p e c i a l i z e d t o some d e g r e e t o p e r f o r m d i f f e r e n t f u n c t i o n s . The l e f t s i d e o f t h e b r a i n c o n t r o l s s p e e c h w h i l e s p a t i a l f u n c t i o n s a r e c o n t r o l l e d p r i n c i p a l l y by t h e r i g h t s i d e . R e s e a r c h s t u d i e s h a v e r e v e a l e d t h a t f e m a l e s r e l y more on t h e l e f t h e m i s p h e r e 9 t h a n t h e r i g h t f o r s p a t i a l f u n c t i o n s . A d d i t i o n a l l y , l e f t h e m i s p h e r e d o m i n a n c e f o r v e r b a l f u n c t i o n s i s e s t a b l i s h e d e a r l i e r i n f e m a l e s w h i l e r i g h t h e m i s p h e r e d o m i n a n c e i s e s t a b l i s h e d e a r l i e r f o r m a l e s . ( V a n d e n b e r g a n d K u s e , 1979) . S h e r m a n (1978) c a u t i o n s t h a t a l t h o u g h t h e r e i s a d i f f e r e n c e i n t h e u s e o f t h e r i g h t a n d l e f t h e m i s p h e r e f o r b o y s a n d g i r l s i t s h o u l d n o t be c o n s i d e r e d a s t h e m a j o r e x p l a n a t i o n s f o r v a r i a t i o n s i n s p a t i a l a b i l i t y . She a r g u e s t h a t a l t h o u g h d i f f e r e n c e s e x i s t b e t w e e n t h e s e x e s on s p a t i a l t a s k s , t h e a c t u a l d i f f e r e n c e s a r e q u i t e s m a l l a n d a r e i n s u f f i c i e n t t o a c c o u n t f o r t h e l a r g e d i f f e r e n c e s o b s e r v e d i n many a c h i e v e m e n t i t e m s . She s u g g e s t s t h a t t h e t y p e s o f t o y s a n d games t h a t b o y s p l a y w i t h m i g h t l e a d t o t h e d i f f e r e n t i a l d e v e l o p m e n t o f s p a t i a l s k i l l s . K i m b a l l (1982) h a d d i s p u t e d t h e p o s i t i o n t h a t b i o l o g i c a l f a c t o r s o f a n y t y p e c o n t r i b u t e t o s e x d i f f e r e n c e s on s c i e n c e a c h i e v e m e n t t e s t s . She s u g g e s t s t h a t e v i d e n c e f o r t h e X - l i n k e d t h e o r y a n d t h e b r a i n l a t e r a l i z a t i o n t h e o r y a r e weak and h i g h l y i n f e r e n t i a l a t b e s t . She s u g g e s t s t h a t e n v i r o n m e n t may a f f e c t t h e n a t u r e and s i z e t h a t g e n e t i c and b i o l o g i c a l f a c t o r s have on a n i n d i v i d u a l ' s a b i l i t y . She a r g u e s t h a t g i r l s w i t h t e n d e n c i e s t o w a r d s e x c e l l e n t math s k i l l s and a b i l i t i e s may b e c o m e weak i n t h i s a r e a i f o p p o r t u n i t i e s a r e n ' t a v a i l a b l e . C o n v e r s e l y , i f g i r l s a r e weak i n t h e b a s i c m a t h s k i l l s a n d a b i l i t i e s , t h i s w e a k n e s s c o u l d be 10 a d d r e s s e d by i n c r e a s i n g t h e o p p o r u n i t i e s a v a i l a b l e . She summarizes h e r p o s i t i o n by a r g u i n g : We must f o c u s on t h e i m p o r t a n t q u e s t i o n o f why i s i s t h a t t h e d i f f e r e n c e s i n p a r t i c i p a t i o n o f men a n d women i n s c i e n t i f i c f i e l d s i s s o l a r g e , when sex d i f f e r e n c e s i n i n t e l l u c t u a l a b i l i t i e s a r e so s m a l l ( K i m b a l l 1982, p 5 9 ) . SOCIO-CULTURAL FACTORS The more r e c e n t l i t e r a t u r e has f o c u s e d on s o c i a l -c u l t u r a l f a c t o r s as p o s s i b l e e x p l a n a t i o n s o f why m a l e s d i s p l a y s u p e r i o r a c h i e v e m e n t i n i t e m s i n t h e p h y s i c a l s c i e n c e s . I t h a s b e e n h y p o t h e s i z e d t h a t t h e s u p e r i o r p e r f o r m a n c e o f m a l e s on p h y s i c s i t e m s i s b a s e d on s o c i a l , c u l t u r a l , a t t i t u d i n a l a nd e x p e r i e n t i a l f a c t o r s a c t i n g s e p a r a t e l y o r i n c o m b i n a t i o n . S e v e r a l a u t h o r s s u g g e s t t h a t p r e s s u r e t h r o u g h c u l t u r a l and e d u c a t i o n a l i n f l u e n c e s w o r k t o g e t h e r t o c r e a t e d i f f e r e n t s o c i a l s i t u a t i o n s f o r m a l e s and f e m a l e s and co m m u n i c a t e what i s c o n s i d e r e d r o l e a p p r o p r i a t e b e h a v i o u r . As a c a s e i n p o i n t J o h n s o n and Murphy e m p h a s i z e : S o c i e t y ' s r o l e e x p e c t a t i o n s f o r men and women r e s u l t i n t h e k i n d s o f d i f f e r e n c e s i n t h e e a r l y s o c i a l i z a t i o n e x p e r i e n c e s o f b o y s and g i r l s . . . and a r e r e i n f o r c e d by a p p r o p r i a t e r o l e m o d e l s i n r e a l l i f e , i n t h e m e d i a , and i n t e x t b o o k s , and by t h e s u b t l e i n f l u e n c e o f t h e h i d d e n c u r r i c u l u m t h r o u g h o u t t h e i r s c h o o l i n g ( J o h n s o n and Murphy 1984, p 4 0 7 ) . T h e r e i s a w i d e body o f l i t e r a t u r e e n c o m p a s s i n g t h e n e g a t i v e i n f l u e n c e s o f p e e r s , t r a d i t i o n a l p a r e n t s , 11 i n f l u e n t i a l t e a c h e r s a n d c o u n s e l l o r s , s i n g l e s e x s c h o o l s , b i a s e d t e x t s and t e s t i n g f o r m a t s . The m a j o r i t y o f a u t h o r s a g r e e t h a t p a r e n t s , c o u n s e l l o r s , and t e a c h e r s may h a v e a n e g a t i v e e f f e c t on how a g i r l p e r c e i v e s t h e p h y s i c a l s c i e n c e s a n d how t h e s e p e r c e p t i o n s i n f l u e n c e s u b s e q u e n t a c t i o n s and d e c i s i o n s . Some c o u n s e l l o r s and p a r e n t s s t e e r g i r l s away f r o m a s u b j e c t b e c a u s e t h e y f e e l i t i s t o o m a s c u l i n e o r n o t n e c e s a r y f o r a g i r l s f u t u r e r o l e as a homemaker. A t e a c h e r ' s i n f l u e n c e s c a n a f f e c t how w e l l s t u d e n t s do i n s c i e n c e . F o x e t a l (1979) s u g g e s t t h a t t e a c h e r s s u b c o n s c i o u s l y i n t e r e c t m o r e w i t h m a l e s t h a n f e m a l e s . S p e a r (1984) c o n d u c t e d a s t u d y t o t e s t t h r e e b a s i c h y p o t h e s e s : a) Whether s c i e n c e t e a c h e r s a w a r d h i g h e r m a r k s t o b o y s t h a n g i r l s f o r i d e n t i c a l w r i t t e n w o r k b) B a s e d on t h e w r i t t e n w o r k do s c i e n c e t e a c h e r s have h i g h e r e x p e c t a t i o n s f o r b o y s t h a n g i r l s ? a n d c) A r e a t t r i b u t e s r e l e v a n t t o t h e s t u d y o f s c i e n c e more l i k e l y a s c r i b e d t o b o ys t h a n g i r l s ? The e x p e r i m e n t a l p r o c e d u r e r e q u i r e d t e a c h e r s i n v a r i o u s s c h o o l s t o e v a l u a t e w o r k b a s e d on t h e w r i t e u p o f an e x p e r i m e n t and an e s s a y on s c i e n c e and s c i e n t i s t s . S p e ar d i s c o v e r e d t h a t w r i t t e n w o r k a t t r i b u t e d t o a g i r l was o f t e n g i v e n l o w e r m a r k s t h a n b o y s a n d b o y s w e r e g i v e h i g h e r r a t i n g s i n t e r m s o f t h e a t t i t u d e s a n d i n t e r e s t s e x p r e s s e d i n t h e e s s a y q u e s t i o n s . T h e r e c e n t l i t e r a t u r e i n v o l v i n g s i n g l e s e x s c h o o l s a n d g i r l s s u c c e s s i n t h e p h y s i c a l s c i e n c e s s u g g e s t t h a t g i r l s a c h i e v e b e t t e r i n s i n g l e sex s c h o o l s 12 ( K a h l e 1983). K e l l y (1981) s u g g e s t e d t h a t g i r l s a r e a t a d i s a d v a n t a g e i n a m i x e d s c h o o l b e c a u s e s c i e n c e i s d o m i n a t e d by b o y s a n d s c i e n c e i s l a b e l l e d a s a b o y ' s s u b j e c t w h e r e a s t h i s d o e s n ' t o c c u r i n a g i r l ' s s c h o o l . The l i t e r a t u r e s u g g e s t s t h a t t h e s e x o f a t e a c h e r h a s l i t t l e i n f l u e n c e on a g i r l s d e s i r e t o s t u d y t h e p h y s i c a l s c i e n c e s . One s t u d y i n i t i a t e d by V o c k e l l a n d C o b o n c (1981) e x p l o r e d w h e t h e r t h e p r e s e n c e o r a b s e n c e o f f e m a l e s c i e n c e t e a c h e r s w o u l d i n f l u e n c e e n r o l l m e n t and a c h i e v e m e n t i n a c o e d u c a t i o n a l p u b l i c s c h o o l and a g i r l s s c h o o l . They f o u n d no s i g n i f i c a n t d i f f e r e n c e b e t w e e n t h e sex o f t h e t e a c h e r and e n r o l l m e n t and a c h i e v e m e n t i n t h e s c h o o l s . K e l l y (1981) s t a t e s t h a t a l t h o u g h t h e r e i s l i t t l e r e a l e v i d e n c e t o s u p p o r t t h i s v i e w , a e x c l u s i v e l y m a l e s t a f f w i l l do l i t t l e t o d i s p e l t h e i d e a t h a t s c i e n c e i s a m a s c u l i n e s u b j e c t no m a t t e r how s y m p a t h e t i c t h e t e a c h e r s may be. F i s c h e r (1982) h a s a r g u e d t h a t i n a l l s o c i e t i e s , t h e r e i s a g e n e r a l c o n c e p t o f m a s c u l i n i t y and f e m i n i t y and p a r t i c u l a r c h a r a c t e r i s t i c t r a i t s t h a t go w i t h them. He g o e s on t o s u g g e s t t h a t i n N o r t h A m e r i c a , s c i e n c e i s v i e w e d a s m a s c u l i n e and s t e r e o t y p e s o f m a l e and f e m a l e b e h a v i o u r a r e r e i n f o r c e d i n many w a y s by p a r e n t a l e x p e c t a t i o n s a n d b e h a v i o u r s , p e e r p r e s s u r e , TV, l i t e r a t u r e , t e a c h e r s , and o t h e r s o c i a l a g e n t s . A l l o f t h e s e f a c t o r s m e n t i o n e d i n t h e a b o v e p a r a g r a p h s i n f l u e n c e i n t u r n , t h e w i d e s p e c t r u m o f 13 e x p e r i e n c e s t h a t b o y s and g i r l s e n c o u n t e r . From an e a r l y a g e b o y s an d g i r l s p l a y w i t h d i f f e r e n t t y p e s o f t o y s a n d g a m e s . M e c h a n i c a l a n d e l e c t r i c a l t o y s w o u l d be m o re i n s t r u m e n t a l i n d e v e l o p i n g p h y s i c s r e l a t e d s k i l l s a n d s p a t i a l a b i l i t i e s t h a n t h e k i n d s o f t o y s t h a t g i r l s p l a y w i t h . G i r l s t h a t l i k e t o p l a y w i t h b o y s games and t o y s a r e o f t e n c o n s i d e r e d 'tomboys' by t h e i r p a r e n t s and p e e r s and maybe d i s c o u r a g e d f r o m p u r s u i n g t h e s e a c t i v i t i e s . I t i s t h i s t y p e o f p e r v a s i v e a t t i t u d e c o n t i n u i n g t h r o u g h o u t a g i r l s s c h o o l i n g t h a t c r e a t e s n e g a t i v e f e e l i n g s t o w a r d s s c i e n c e o r a n y t h i n g c o n s i d e r e d m a s c u l i n e . S e v e r a l a u t h o r s h a v e d i s c u s s e d t h e r e l e v a n c e o f e a r l y e x p e r i e n c e s on a t t i t u d e s a n d a c h i e v e m e n t o f f e m a l e s i n s c i e n c e ( E r i c k s o n and E r i c k s o n , 1984; J o h n s o n a n d M u r p h y , 1 9 8 4 ; K a h l e , M a t y a s , a n d Cho, 1 9 8 5 ) . As J o h n s o n and Murphy s t r e s s : A g r e a t d e a l o f d i s c u s s i o n a b o u t t h e u n d e r -a c h i e v e m e n t o f g i r l s i n p h y s i c s has c e n t e r e d a r o u n d t h e s u b j e c t p o l a r i z a t i o n i s s u e i n t h e s e c o n d a r y s c h o o l , b u t i t s h o u l d be c l e a r f r o m t h e e v i d e n c e i n t h i s p a p e r and e l s e w h e r e t h a t t h e r o o t o f t h e p r o b l e m l i e s r a t h e r i n d i f f e r e n c e s i n e a r l y s o c i a l i z a t i o n e x p e r i e n c e s ( J o h n s o n and Murphy 1984, p 4 0 7 ) . I t i s t h i s r o l e o f e x p e r i e n c e w h i c h w i l l be d i s c u s s e d i n i n g r e a t e r d e t a i l b elow. EXPERIENTAL FACTORS D i f f e r e n c e s i n s c i e n c e e x p e r i e n c e s h a s b e e n d o c u m e n t e d as e a r l y a s a g e t h r e e . I n a n e a r l y s t u d y 14 c o m p l e t e d by B r i d g e s (1927) on t h e i n t e r e s t s o f t h r e e y e a r o l d s , i t was d e m o n s t r a t e d t h a t b o y s p r e f e r r e d a c t i v i t i e s c a l l i n g f o r i n v e n t i o n , one a l l o w i n g f o r f r e e d o m o f e x p r e s s i o n ( b u i l d i n g b r i c k s ) w h i l e g i r l s f o l l o w i n s t r u c t i o n s a n d e n g a g e i n r o u t i n e a c t i v i t i e s s u c h a s p a i r i n g c o l o u r s . H u t t (1972) d i s c o v e r e d t h a t t h e r e w e r e v a r i a t i o n s i n t h e b e h a v i o u r o f t w o t o f o u r y e a r o l d b o y s and g i r l s a t p l a y . G i r l s w e r e m o r e w i l l i n g t o f o l l o w i n s t r u c t i o n s and were more h e s i t a n t t h a n b o y s t o t r y o u t a number of a c t i v i t i e s . K e l l y (197 8) s u g g e s t s t h a t f r o m t h e t i m e o f b i r t h b o y s a n d g i r l s a r e t r e a t e d d i f f e r e n t l y and t h a t a d u l t s a r e u s u a l l y u n a w a r e o f t h e m eans by w h i c h t h e y a r e t r a n s m i t t i n g m e s s a g e s . T h e s e m e s s a g e s may be t h e t o n e o f v o i c e and p a r t i c u l a r b o d y p o s t u r e s . B o t h t h e n a t i o n a l s u r v e y s a n d t h e BC s u r v e y i n d i c a t e i n e q u i t i e s i n t h e t y p e s o f s c i e n c e e x p e r i e n c e s t h a t g i r l s a n d b o y s h a d b o t h i n a n d o u t o f t h e s c i e n c e c l a s s r o o m . When r e s p o n d i n g t o i t e m s s u c h a s h a v e y o u e v e r used a magnet? compass? e t c . f e w e r g i r l s t h a n b o ys r e p o r t e d t h a t t h e y h a d . I n a n a t t i t u d i n a l s u r v e y c o m p l e t e d by t h e BC S c i e n c e A s s e s s m e n t f e w e r g i r l s r e p o r t e d p a r t i c i p a t i n g i n l a b o r a t o r y e x p e r i m e n t s t h a n b o y s . In a c u r r e n t s t u d y c o m p l e t e d by K a h l e e t a l (1985) i t was r e v e a l e d t h a t f e w e r g i r l s p a r t i c i p a t e d i n s c i e n c e r e l a t e d a c t i v i t i e s o u t s i d e o f t h e c l a s s r o o m ( s u c h a c t i v i t i e s w o u l d i n c l u d e r e a d i n g b o o k s , m a g a z i n e s , o r 15 w o r k i n g w i t h h o b b i e s ) . O v e r t w i c e a s many b o y s m e n t i o n e d t h a t t h e y w e r e i n v o l v e d i n some t y p e o f s c i e n c e r e l a t e d a c t i v i t y t h a n g i r l s . A d d i t i o n a l l y , a s t u d y by L i e and B r y h n i (1983) i n d i c a t e d t h a t n o t o n l y do b o ys p a r t i c i p a t e m o r e i n s c i e n c e a c t i v i t i e s t h a n g i r l s b u t t h i s s e e m s t o a f f e c t s c i e n c e p e r f o r m a n c e a s w e l l . L i e and B r y h n i d i s c o v e r e d a s t r i k i n g c o r r e s p o n d e n c e b e t w e e n e x p e r i e n c e a n d t e s t s c o r e s i n s c i e n c e w i t h g i r l s p e r f o r m i n g l e s s w e l l i n a r e a s w h e r e t h e y h a d l e s s e x p e r i e n c e . Howe and S h a y e r (1981) c o m p l e t e d an e x p e r i e n t t o f i n d o u t w h e t h e r a p e r i o d o f c l a s s r o o m i n s t r u c t i o n g i v e n t o 10 a n d 11 y e a r o l d s on a t a s k o f v o l u m e and d e n s i t y w o u l d i m p r o v e t e s t p e r f o r m a n c e . I t was d i s c o v e r e d t h a t p e r f o r m a n c e i m p r o v e d f o r m a l e s a n d f e m a l e s b u t t h e r e was s t i l l t h e s e x - r e l a t e d d i f f e r e n c e a p p a r e n t b e t w e e n b o y s a n d g i r l s . T h e y c o n c l u d e d t h a t when a p p r o p r i a t e e x p e r i e n c e s a r e a v a i l a b l e , b o t h b o y s and g i r l s a s s i m i l a t e t h e new i d e a s s t a r t i n g f r o m w h e r e v e r t h e i r l e v e l i s . T h e y s p e c u l a t e d t h a t t h e r e m i g h t be s e x d i f f e r e n c e s i n e a r l y e x p e r i e n c e s t h a t i n f l u e n c e c o g n i t i v e d e v e l o p m e n t . G r a y b i l l ( 1 9 7 5 ) b a s e d h i s s t u d y o n w h e t h e r d i f f e r e n c e s i n s o c i a l m i l i e u , a s p i r a t i o n and r e w a r d f o r m a l e s a n d f e m a l e s i n s o c i e t y s h o u l d h a v e a n e f f e c t on t h e d e v e l o p m e n t o f P i a g e t ' s s t a g e s f r o m c o n c r e t e t o f o r m a l o p e r a t i o n s . He d i s c o v e r e d t h a t t e s t s c o r e s v a r i e d f o r b o y s and g i r l s and t h a t d i f f e r e n t e x p e r i e n c e s d u r i n g t h e c o n c r e t e p e r i o d may a c c o u n t f o r t h i s w i d e n i n g g a p . 16 He s u g g e s t e d t h a t t h e t y p e s o f e x p e r i e n c e t h a t t h e b o y s o b t a i n o u t s i d e o f s c h o o l m i g h t be h e l p f u l i n t h e t r a n s i t i o n f r o m c o n c r e t e t o f o r m a l o p e r a t i o n s . T h e s e t y p e s o f e x p e r i e n c e s m i g h t i n c l u d e t h e t y p e s o f s p o r t b o y s p l a y a n d t h e h o b b i e s a n d g a m e s t h e y p u r s u e , ( b a s e b a l l , h o c k e y , t r a i n s e t s e t c . ) . S e v e r a l a u t h o r s h a v e t e s t e d t h e p o s s i b i l i t y t h a t f e m a l e s e x p e r i e n c e s may d i f f e r f r o m m a l e s and i n d o i n g s o w i l l a f f e c t t e s t r e s u l t s ( C a s t o r e a n d S t a f f o r d , 1 9 7 1 ; G r a f a n d R i d d e l l , 1 972; M i l t o n , 1 9 5 9 ) . S i n c e a c h i e v e m e n t t e s t r e s u l t s a r e one o f t h e m a i n i n d i c a t o r s o f s u c c e s s t h e y a r e an i m p o r t a n t v a r i a b l e t o c o n s i d e r . M i l t o n (1959) a n d G r a f a n d R i d d e l l (1972) f o u n d t h a t when a l t e r i n g a p r o b l e m t o make i t l e s s a p p r o p r i a t e t o t h e m a s c u l i n e s e x r o l e , s e x d i f f e r e n c e s i n p r o b l e m s o l v i n g w e r e r e d u c e d . I n M i l t o n ' s s t u d y t w o p a r a l l e l s e t s o f p r o b l e m s w e r e c o n s t r u c t e d ; one i n a m a l e r o l e and t h e o t h e r i n a f e m a l e r o l e . They a r e as f o l l o w s : S n u f f y , t h e t r a m p , r o l l s h i s own c i g a r e t t e s f r o m b u t t s he c o l l e c t s i n h i s t r a v e l s . The t o b a c c o f r o m s i x b u t t s p r o d u c e s one new c i g a r e t t e . One day he c o l l e c t e d a t o t a l o f 72 b u t t s . He s m o k e d a c i g a r e t t e e v e r y h a l f h o u r , y e t t h i s s u p p l y l a s t e d h i m s e v e n h o u r s . How d i d he manage t h i s ? S a l l y , t h e cook, c u t s c o o k i e s f r o m b a t t e r she makes e a c h m o r n i n g . She r o l l s o u t s i x c u p s o f b a t t e r t o c u t one d o z e n round c o o k i e s . One day she made a t o t a l of 72 c u p s 17 o f b a t t e r . She s o l d a d o z e n c o o k i e s e v e r y h a l f h o u r , y e t t h i s s u p p l y l a s t e d h e r s e v e n h o u r s . How d i d s h e m a n a g e t h i s ? T h e s e p r o b l e m s w e r e g i v e n t o a g r o u p o f m a l e s a n d f e m a l e s t o s o l v e . F r o m t h e r e s u l t s M i l t o n c o n c l u d e d t h a t men on t h e a v e r a g e s o l v e d more p r o b l e m s t h a n t h e women r e g a r d l e s s o f t h e r o l e a p p r o p r i a t e n e s s o f t h e p r o b l e m w h i l e women s o l v e d more p r o b l e m s when t h e y w e r e p r e s e n t e d i n a f e m i n i n e r o l e . H o f f m a n a n d M a i e r (1966) c o m p l e t e d a s e r i e s o f e x p e r i m e n t s t o d e t e r m i n e w h e t h e r women w e r e l e s s a b l e t h a n men i n p r o b l e m s o l v i n g . They s e l e c t e d e i g h t p r o b l e m s i n w h i c h t h e y t e s t e d t h r e e m a i n v a r i a b l e s : s e x o f t h e e x p e r i m e n t e r , a d d e d m o t i v a t i o n ( e x t r a w o r k w i t h s i m i l i a r t y p e p r o b l e m s ) a n d m a s c u l i n e a n d f e m i n i n e v e r s i o n s o f t h e p r o b l e m s . They c o n c l u d e d f r o m t h e r e s u l t s t h a t e a c h v a r i a b l e i n f l u e n c e s t h e r e s u l t s on some o f t h e p r o b l e m s . I n s o m e i n s t a n c e s t h e s e x o f t h e e x p e r i m e n t e r i n f l u e n c e d t h e s u b j e c t s t o do b e t t e r on some p r o b l e m s . T h e f e m i n i n e v s m a s c u l i n e v e r s i o n s o f t h e p r o b l e m s showed m a r k e d d i f f e r e n c e s b e t w e e n m a l e s a nd f e m a l e s on some o f t h e p r o b l e m s a n d n o t on o t h e r s . H o f f m a n a n d M a i e r s u g g e s t e d t h a t a c o m p l e x i n t e r a c t i o n b e t w e e n t h e v a r i a b l e s m u s t be t a k i n g p l a c e and s h o u l d be e x a m i n e d i n g r e a t e r d e t a i l . E r i c k s o n and E r i c k s o n (1984) d i s c o v e r e d when e x a m i n i n g t h e r e s u l t s o f t h e BC S c i e n c e A s s e s s m e n t t h a t 18 no d i f f e r e n c e a t any g r a d e l e v e l was f o u n d f o r t h e g o a l o f u n d e r s t a n d i n g s c i e n c e p r o c e s s e s . T h i s g o a l i n c l u d e d i t e m s w h i c h i n v o l v e d g r a p h i n g , r e a d i n g t a b l e s , i n t e r p r e t i n g d a t a and o b s e r v a t i o n s . A d d i t i o n a l l y i t was i n f e r r e d t h a t b o y s do b e t t e r t h a n g i r l s on i t e m s d e a l i n g w i t h e v e n t s d r a w n f r o m t h e i r s p h e r e o f e x p e r i e n c e . T h i s w a s f o u n d i n t h e p h y s i c s a r e a w h e r e s e x r e l a t e d d i f f e r e n c e s w e r e t h e g r e a t e s t . One o f t h e s e i t e m s r e f e r r e d t o t h e m o t i o n o f r u b b e r b a l l s . They s u g g e s t e d t h a t b o y s h a v e much m o r e e x t e n s i v e e x p e r i e n c e i n t h e t h r o w i n g o f b a l l s t h a n g i r l s a n d may u s e t h i s e x p e r i e n c e t o p r o v i d e e x p l a n a t i o n s f o r t h e i r a n s w e r s . I f b o y s p e r f o r m b e t t e r t h a n g i r l s on i t e m s d e a l i n g w i t h e v e n t s d r a w n f r o m t h e i r s p h e r e o f e x p e r i e n c e t h e n i t c a n be a r g u e d t h a t t h i s l a c k o f e x p e r i e n c e s h o u l d be t a k e n i n t o c o n s i d e r a t i o n when i n s t r u c t i n g b o y s and g i r l s i n t h e s c i e n c e s , e s p e c i a l l y t h e p h y s i c a l s c i e n c e s . E r i c k s o n and E r i c k s o n (1984) s t r e s s t h a t t h e e a r l y y e a r s o f s c i e n c e i n s t r u c t i o n a r e p a r t i c u l a r l y i m p o r t a n t a s g i r l s m i g h t l a c k t h e b a c k g r o u n d k n o w l e d g e t o f o r m u l a t e more s o p h s i c a t e d c o n c e p t s . A c k n o w l e d g i n g t h i s p o t e n t i a l d i f f e r e n c e and p r o v i d i n g a d e q u a t e i n s t r u c t i o n t o c o m p e n s a t e f o r t h e l a c k o f b a c k g r o u n d k n o w l e d g e i s e s s e n t i a l i n t h e e a r l y y e a r s . E x a c t l y w h a t t y p e s o f e x p e r i e n c e g i r l s a n d b o y s h a v e o r b r i n g i n t o t h e i r s c h o o l b a s e d w o r k h a s n o t b e e n e x t e n s i v e l y r e s e a r c h e d i n t h e l i t e r a t u r e . T h i s s t u d y i s 19 an a t t e m p t t o e x p l o r e w h e t h e r d i f f e r e n c e s i n e v e r y d a y e x p e r i e n c e s o f m a l e s and f e m a l e s c o n t r i b u t e t o some o f t h e d i f f e r e n c e s t h a t have been o b s e r v e d i n p e r f o r m a n c e on s e l e c t e d s c i e n c e t e s t i t e m s . 20. CHAPTER I I I METHODOLOGY INTRODUCTION The p r i m a r y a i m o f t h i s s t u d y was t o e x a m i n e t h e p o s s i b l e r o l e p l a y e d by t h e p r i o r e x p e r i e n c e s w h i c h m a l e s a n d f e m a l e s b r i n g t o s c i e n c e a c h i e v e m e n t t e s t s i t u a t i o n s . To i n v e s t i g a t e t h i s b a s i c p r o b l e m a 23 i t e m t e s t was a d m i n i s t e r e d t o a g r o u p o f 238 g r a d e t w e l v e s t u d e n t s . From t h i s g r o u p 15 s t u d e n t s v o l u n t e e r e d t o be i n t e r v i e w e d f o r t h e p u r p o s e o f e x p l a i n i n g t h e i r r e s p o n s e s t o t h e s e t e s t i t e m s . T he 23 i t e m t e s t was e x t r a c t e d f r o m t h e 1982 BC S c i e n c e A s s e s s m e n t a n d t h e s e l e c t i o n c r i t e r i a was b a s e d upon t h o s e i t e m s d i s p l a y i n g t h e g r e a t e s t s e x - r e l a t e d d i f f e r e n c e s . The u n s t r u c t u r e d i n t e r v i e w f o r m a t was c h o s e n a s t h e i n v e s t i g a t o r f e l t t h a t i t was t h e m o s t a p p r o p r i a t e t o o l f o r t h e m a j o r q u e s t i o n b e i n g a d d r e s s e d i n t h i s s t u d y . T h i s c h a p t e r w i l l i d e n t i f y a n d d i s c u s s t h e d e s i g n o f t h e r e s e a r c h s t u d y , t h e s a m p l e , d a t a c o l l e c t i o n ( w h i c h i n c l u d e s t e s t a d m i n s t r a t i o n a n d i n t e r v i e w p r o c e d u r e s ) , and d a t a a n a l y s i s . DESIGN OF THE STUDY A. T h e T e s t The m u l t i p l e c h o i c e t e s t i t e m s were t a k e n f r o m t h e 1982 S c i e n c e A s s e s s m e n t . T w e n t y - t h r e e i t e m s were s e l e c t e d on 21 t h e b a s i s o f a d i f f e r e n c e i n P - v a l u e o f t e n p e r c e n t o r g r e a t e r b e t w e e n m a l e s a n d f e m a l e s . P v a l u e ( m a i n s t a t i s t i c u s e d i n i n t e r p r e t i n g t h e s u r v e y ) r e f e r s t o t h e p e r c e n t a g e o f s t u d e n t s a t t e m p t i n g t h e i t e m who c h o s e t h e c o r r e c t r e s p o n s e . E a c h o f t h e t e s t i t e m s f e l l i n t o one o f t h r e e d o m a i n s e s t a b l i s h e d by t h e 1982 A s s e s s m e n t : S c i e n c e P r o c e s s e s ; K n o w l e d g e , R e c a l l and U n d e r s t a n d i n g ; a n d H i g h e r L e v e l T h i n k i n g . S c i e n c e P r o c e s s e s c o n s i s t e d o f p r o c e s s e s s u c h a s o b s e r v i n g , c l a s s i f y i n g , a n d i n t e p r e t i n g i n f o r m a t i o n f o r t h e p u r p o s e o f s o l v i n g p r o b l e m s . Knowledge, R e c a l l , and U n d e r s t a n d i n g i n v o l v e d t h e a b i l i t y t o r e c a l l a n d u n d e r s t a n d v a r i o u s s c i e n c e f a c t s , c o n c e p t s , and p r i n c i p l e s , i n c l u d i n g s a f e t y p r o c e d u r e s . H i g h e r L e v e l T h i n k i n g i n v o l v e d t h e a b i l i t y t o s o l v e p r o b l e m s by t r a n s f e r i n g p r i o r k n o w l e d g e a n d / o r l e a r n i n g b e h a v i o u r . In a d d i t i o n , e a c h i t e m was c l a s s i f i e d i n t o one o f f o u r g r o u p s by t h e 1982 a s s e s s m e n t team: p h y s i c s , c h e m i s t r y , b i o l o g y , and e a r t h / s p a c e s c i e n c e . The c l a s s i f i c a t i o n o f t h e s e i t e m s i s d i s p l a y e d i n T a b l e 1, w h i l e t h e a c t u a l i t e m s a n d s t u d e n t i n s t r u c t i o n s a r e r e p r o d u c e d i n A p p e n d i x A. Out o f t h e s e 23 i t e m s f o u r i t e m s ( 2 0 , 2 1 , 2 2 , a n d 23) were a l t e r e d t o see i f c h a n g e s i n t h e c o n t e x t o f an i t e m w o u l d make any d i f f e r e n c e i n t h e b o y s a n d g i r l s t e s t p e r f o r m a n c e . I t e m 22 was a l t e r e d t o d e t e r m i n e w h e t h e r a 22 TABLE 1 CLASSIFICATION OF TEST ITEMS BY DOMAIN AND CONTENT AREA C o n t e n t A r e a Domain B i o l o g y C h e m i s t r y P h y s i c s E a r t h / S p a c e 1. S c i e n c e P r o c e s s e s a) i n t e r p r e t d a t a 20,21* 1,2 b) i d e n t i f y and c o n t r o l v a r i a b l e s 11 I I . K nowledge, R e c a l l a) u n d e r s t a n d i n g 9 18 6 5,16 b) s a f e t y p r o c e d u r e s 7,8,17,22 13 I I I . H i g h e r L e v e l T h i n k i n g a) e v a l u a t e e v i d e n c e f o r c o n c l u s i o n s 15,23 12 b) s o l v e a b s t r a c t p r o b l e m s 10 14,19 3,4 * I t e m number. See A p p e n d i x A f o r a f u l l d e s c r i p t i o n o f t h e i t e m s . 23 s u b t l e c h a n g e f r o m a l a b o r a t o r y s e t t i n g t o a k i t c h e n s e t t i n g w o u l d have any d i f f e r e n c e on t e s t p e r f o r m a n c e . I t e m 23 was a l t e r e d t o s e e i f a s m a l l c h a n g e i n t h e d i a g r a m f r o m l a b o r a t o r y b o t t l e s t o s a u c e p a n s w o u l d a f f e c t p e r f o r m a n c e . I t e m s 20 a n d 2 1 , b a s e d u p o n i n t e r p r e t a t i o n o f g r a p h i c a l d a t a , w e r e a l t e r e d i n an a t t e m p t t o o b s e r v e whether t h e use o f v a r i a b l e s f a m i l i a r t o a l l s t u d e n t s w o u l d c r e a t e any d i f f e r e n c e s i n t e s t s c o r e s . I t w a s n o t e x p e c t e d t h a t t h i s w o u l d d i f f e r e n t i a l l y a f f e c t t h e g i r l s * t e s t p e r f o r m a n c e . T h e s e f o u r i t e m s were s e l e c t e d f o r a l t e r a t i o n s b e c a u s e c h a n g e s t o e a c h o f t h e s e i t e m s w e r e r e l a t i v e l y s i m p l e and d i d n o t change t h e c o n c e p t u a l c o n t e n t o f t h e i t e m s . The a l t e r a t i o n o f t h e f o u r i t e m s s u b s e q u e n t l y r e s u l t e d i n a t w o f o r m t e s t b e i n g p r i n t e d . One f o r m , p r i n t e d on w h i t e p a p e r , c o n t a i n e d t h e o r i g i n a l 23 i t e m s ; t h e s e c o n d f o r m , p r i n t e d on g r e e n p a p e r , c o n t a i n e d t h e r e v i s e d i t e m s . The c o l o u r e d p a p e r was u s e d by t h e i n v e s t i g a t o r as a s i m p l e means t o q u i c k l y i d e n t i f y t h e t w o f o r m s . A p p r o x i m a t e l y h a l f o f t h e s t u d e n t s t e s t e d were g i v e n t h e a l t e r n a t e v e r s i o n o f t h e t e s t . B. The I n t e r v i e w s E a c h i n t e r v i e w r a n g e d f r o m a p p r o x i m a t e l y 20-30 m i n u t e s i n l e n g t h . The s t r u c t u r e and t y p e o f q u e s t i o n s u s e d i n t h e i n t e r v i e w s were d e v e l o p e d d u r i n g a s e r i e s o f p i l o t i n t e r v i e w s . The f o r m a t o f t h e i n t e r v i e w s were non-s t r u c t u r e d b u t c e n t e r e d on s t u d e n t s r e s p o n s e s t o t h e 24 b a s i c q u e s t i o n " C o u l d y o u t e l l me what y o u were t h i n k i n g o r e x p l a i n why y o u c h o s e y o u r a n s w e r f o r q u e s t i o n 1...2...?" U s i n g t h i s b a s i c q u e s t i o n a s a g u i d e f o r e a c h i t e m f u r t h e r e l a b o r a t i o n o f t h e i r r e s p o n s e s w e r e r e q u e s t e d i f n e c e s s a r y . S e e A p p e n d i x B f o r a c o m p l e t e t r a n s c r i p t o f one o f t h e s e i n t e r v i e w s . T h i s s t y l e o f i n t e r v i e w i s f a i r l y c o mmon i n e d u c a t i o n a l r e s e a r c h and has been u t i l i z e d and j u s t i f i e d a s a r e s e a r c h t o o l f o r s t u d e n t s by a n u m b e r o f r e s e a r c h e r s ( A g u i r r e , 1978; E r i c k s o n , 1979; Kuhn, 1978; P o s n e r and G e r t z o g , 1982). T h i s method was j u d g e d by t h e i n v e s t i g a t o r t o be n e c e s s a r y t o o b t a i n t h e t y p e o f d a t a r e q u i r e d t o a d d r e s s t h e p r o b l e m o f i n t e r e s t i n t h i s s t u d y . C. The Sample Th e t e s t was a d m i n s t e r e d t o a g r o u p o f 238 s t u d e n t s r a n d o m l y s e l e c t e d f r o m t h r e e s c h o o l s i n t h e V a n c o u v e r S c h o o l D i s t r i c t . The t h r e e s c h o o l s w e r e s e l e c t e d by o f f i c i a l s i n t h e R e s e a r c h S e r v i c e s D i v i s i o n o f t h e VSB as b e i n g r o u g h l y r e p r e s e n t a t i v e o f t h e V a n c o u v e r s c h o o l p o p u l a t i o n . An e m p i r i c a l c h e c k on t h e r e p r e s e n t a t i v e n e s s o f t h e s a m p l e was o b t a i n e d by c o m p a r i n g t h e p - v a l u e s o b t a i n e d f r o m t h i s s a m p l e o f s t u d e n t s w i t h t h e p o p u l a t i o n o f BC s t u d e n t s o b t a i n e d f r o m t h e 1982 S c i e n c e A s s e s s m e n t . As T a b l e 2 i n d i c a t e s t h e match i n p e r f o r m a n c e b e t w e e n t h i s TABLE 2 25 MALE/FEMALE RESPONSES FOR SELECTED SCIENCE ACHIEVEMENT ITEMS FOR RESULTS FROM CURRENT STUDY AND 1982 B.C. SCIENCE ASSESSMENT 1982 R e s u l t s Current R e s u l t s (N-22,110) (N-238) Percent C o r r e c t Percent C o r r e c t Item No. Male Female Male Female 1 46 38 49 32 2 43 26 42 27 3 48 26 60 31 4 41 19 42 26 5 36 25 54 36 6 60 34 65 38 7 53 38 55 36 8 27 17 20 22 9 71 57 72 48 10 50 32 57 32 11 57 46 68 52 12 52 38 52 45 13 74 44 66 35 14 76 55 72 51 15 69 44 54 47 16 58 39 57 39 17 80 67 67 51 18 72 62 73 61 19 69 46 70 50 20 47 37 *38 41 *30 32 21 66 58 *57 58 *41 40 22 70 46 *48 60 *30 51 23 60 45 *49 63 *30 51 *Male/Female Responses foi the a l tered 26 s a m p l e a n d t h e 1 9 8 2 s a m p l e w a s v e r y h i g h . The t e s t s w e r e a d m i n i s t e r e d by a c l a s s r o o m t e a c h e r t o E n g l i s h 12 a n d C o n s u m e r E d u c a t i o n 12 c l a s s e s . B e c a u s e t h e s e c l a s s e s a r e c o m p u l s o r y , i t was f e l t t h a t t h i s w o u l d r e s u l t i n a m o r e r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s a m p l e o f s t u d e n t s . F r o m t h e 238 s t u d e n t s , 15 s t u d e n t s (8 m a l e s , 7 f e m a l e s ) v o l u n t e e r e d t o t a k e p a r t i n t h e i n t e r v i e w s t u d y . W h e n a s k e d t o v o l u n t e e r , t h e i n v e s t i g a t o r s t r e s s e d t o t h e s t u d e n t t h a t t h e i n t e r v i e w w o u l d n o t t a k e l o n g e r t h a n 30 m i n u t e s , t h a t t h e y c o u l d c h o o s e t h e i r own t i m e t o be i n t e r v i e w e d , and m o s t i m p o r t a n t l y t h a t t h e y w e r e n o t b e i n g e v a l u a t e d . DATA COLLECTION A. T e s t A d m i n s t r a t i o n The a d m i n s t r a t i o n o f t h e t e s t t o o k a p p r o x i m a t e l y 25 m i n u t e s . The d i r e c t i o n s f o r a d m i n i s t e r i n g t h e s c i e n c e t e s t was e x p l a i n e d t o e a c h o f t h e c l a s s r o o m t e a c h e r s . A d e l i b e r a t e p o i n t w a s m a d e n o t t o r e f e r t o t h e s e q u e s t i o n s a s a t e s t t o a v o i d i n i t i a l n e g a t i v e r e a c t i o n s s e t u p w h e n t h e w o r d t e s t i s m e n t i o n e d . T h e o n l y e x p l a n a t i o n o f f e r e d by t h e i n v e s t i g a t o r t o i n q u i s i t i v e t e a c h e r s was t h a t t h e q u e s t i o n s w e r e d e s i g n e d t o s e e how w e l l s t u d e n t s w e r e d o i n g i n s c i e n c e . S i n c e t h e c l a s s e s b e i n g a s s e s s e d w e r e E n g l i s h a n d Consumer E d u c a t i o n t h e r e s h o u l d h a v e b e e n no p r e s s u r e p u t on t h e t e a c h e r s f o r t h e 2 7 s t u d e n t s t o p e r f o r m w e l l . The t e s t s w e r e c o l l e c t e d b y t h e t e a c h e r and t h e i n v e s t i g a t o r s c o r e d a l l t h e t e s t s . B. I n t e r v i e w P r o c e d u r e E a c h o f t h e 15 s t u d e n t s t h a t v o l u n t e e r e d t o be i n t e r v i e w e d h a d t h e i r c h o i c e o f t h e t i m e o f d a y a n d d a t e t o be i n t e r v i e w e d ( w i t h i n i n v e s t i g a t o r s g u i d e l i n e s ) . A l l o f t h e 15 s t u d e n t s c h o s e t o be i n t e r v i e w e d a f t e r s c h o o l h o u r s . E a c h s t u d e n t was i n t e r v i e w e d i n t h e b a c k o f a n e m p t y c l a s s r o o m . I n t h i s s e t t i n g i t w a s f e l t t h a t t h e s t u d e n t s w e r e r e l a t i v e l y c o m f o r t a b l e and away f r o m o t h e r s c h o o l d i s t r a c t i o n s . B e c a u s e o f t i m e r e s t r i c t i o n s and t e a c h e r s c h e d u l i n g t h e t i m e s p a n b e t w e e n t e s t i n g a n d i n t e r v i e w i n g w a s a p p r o x i m a t e l y one week. T h i s w a s n ' t p e r c e i v e d a s a m a j o r o b s t a c l e a s e a c h s t u d e n t was g i v e n t i m e t o e x a m i n e t h e i r u n m a r k e d t e s t p a p e r d u r i n g t h e i n t e r v i e w . B e f o r e s t a r t i n g any o f t h e i n t e r v i e w s a f e w m i n u t e s o f s m a l l t a l k w a s e n g a g e d i n t o r e d u c e a n y a n x i e t y o r t e n s i o n . I n a d d i t i o n , i t was e x p l a i n e d t o t h e s t u d e n t s t h a t t h e i n v e s t i g a t o r wasn't i n t e r e s t e d i n w h e t h e r t h e y g o t t h e a n s w e r r i g h t o r w r o n g b u t i n why t h e y c h o s e t h e a n s w e r t h e y d i d . They w e r e a b l e t o r e r e a d t h e q u e s t i o n s a n d t h e i r own r e s p o n s e t o e a c h q u e s t i o n d u r i n g t h e i n t e r v i e w . E a c h i n t e r v i e w was a u d i o - t a p e d s o as t o h a v e a n a c c u r a t e r e c o r d o f t h e s t u d e n t s ' r e s p o n s e s f o r s u b s e q u e n t a n a l y s i s . 28 DATA ANALYSIS The e x p l a n a t i o n s g i v e n by t h e s t u d e n t s t o e x p l a i n t h e i r a n s w e r s c o m p r i s e t h e m a i n s o u r c e o f d a t a f o r t h e s t u d y . T h e i n t e r v i e w d a t a w a s a n a l y z e d u s i n g t h e f o l l o w i n g s t e p s : 1. E a c h one o f t h e 15 t a p e s was l i s t e n e d t o once t o g e t a g e n e r a l o v e r v i e w o f b o y s a n d g i r l s e x p l a n a t i o n s f o r t h e 23 i t e m s . 2. E a c h o f t h e t a p e s was l i s t e n e d t o a s e c o n d t i m e and a l i s t a l l u d i n g t o a wide v a r i e t y o f b o t h c l a s s r o o m and o u t - o f - c l a s s r o o m e x p e r i e n c e s was p r e p a r e d . These e x p e r i e n c e s were n o t e d on i n d e x c a r d s f o r f u r t h e r a n a l y s i s . 3. From l i s t e n i n g t o t h e s t u d e n t ' s e x p l a n a t i o n s on t h e t a p e s a number o f common f a c t o r s began t o emerge. These common f a c t o r s were d e s c r i b e d i n t e r m s o f t h e f o l l o w i n g c a t e g o r i e s : f o r m a l e x p e r i e n c e , i n f o r m a l e x p e r i e n c e , common s e n s e , k nowledge, g u e s s i n g , and a g r o u p o f i d i o s y n c r a t i c r e s p o n s e s w h i c h were s i m p l y c a t e g o r i z e d as m i s c e l l a n o u s . F o r e x a m p l e , t h e m i s c e l l a n e o u s c a t e g o r y i n c l u d e d r e s p o n s e s w h e r e t h e s t u d e n t s w e r e n ' t s u r e how t h e y g o t t h e i r a n s w e r o r when t h e y f o r g o t how t h e y a r r i v e d a t t h e i r a nswer. 2 9 The d e s c r i p t i o n s o f t h e s e e x p l a n a t o r y c a t e g o r i e s a r e g i v e n below: a) FORMAL EXPERIENCE- T h i s c a t e g o r y c o n s i s t e d o f s c h o o l b a s e d e x p e r i e n c e . T h i s i n c l u d e d t e x t b o o k s , r e a d i n g m a t e r i a l , m e d i a r e s o u r c e s , and s c h o o l i n s t r u c t i o n . b) INFORMAL EXPERIENCE - T h i s c a t e g o r y c o n s i s t e d o f o u t o f s c h o o l e x p e r i e n c e . T h i s i n c l u d e d s u c h e v e n t s a s h o b b i e s , TV, r e a d i n g ( m a g a z i n e s , b o o k s , n e w s p a p e r s , ) l i s t e n i n g t o t h e r a d i o , p l a y i n g games, and so f o r t h . c) COMMON SENSE - T h i s c a t e g o r y i n c l u d e d p r a c t i c a l k n o w l e d g e t h a t s t u d e n t s h a d w i t h o u t n a m i n g a n y p a r t i c u l a r e v e n t . d) GUESSING- T h i s c a t e g o r y i n c l u d e d s t u d e n t s r e s p o n s e s where t h e y s i m p l y s t a t e d t h a t t h e y d e r v i v e d t h e i r answer by g u e s s i n g . e) MISCELLANEOUS - T h i s c a t e g o r y i n c l u d e d a l l t h e r e s p o n s e s w h e r e s t u d e n t s c o u l d n ' t r e m e m b e r how t h e y o b t a i n e d t h e i r a n s w e r s , o r t h e y s i m p l y s t a t e d t h a t i t l o o k e d l i k e t h e r i g h t answer or t h e y f o u n d t h e i r answer by t h e p r o c e s s o f e l i m i n a t i o n . 4. U s i n g t h e c a t e g o r i e s i l l u s t r a t e d a b o v e , e a c h t a p e was l i s t e n e d t o a g a i n , i t e m by i t e m . E a c h s t u d e n t ' s e x p l a n a t i o n f o r a n i t e m was c a t e g o r i z e d a n d w r i t t e n o n t o a f i l e c a r d . T h i s p r o c e d u r e was f o l l o w e d f o r a l l 15 s t u d e n t s . F o r e a c h s t u d e n t t h e r e 30 was only one category assigned per item. 5. Using the i n f o r m a t i o n on the f i l e cards a frequency response f o r boys and g i r l s was t a b u l a t e d f o r each category. T h i s procedure y i e l d e d the primary data base f o r subsequent a n a l y s i s and i n t e r p r e t a t i o n as d e s c r i b e d i n the f o l l o w i n g chapter. CHAPTER IV RESULTS AND DISCUSSION The b a s i c r e s e a r c h q u e s t i o n b e i n g a d d r e s s e d i n t h i s s t u d y was t o e x p l o r e w h e t h e r t h e p r i o r e x p e r i e n c e s o f s e c o n d a r y s c h o o l b o y s a n d g i r l s c o n t r i b u t e i n p a r t , t o some s e x - r e l a t e d d i f f e r e n c e s i n s e l e c t e d s c i e n c e t e s t i t e m s . T h i s q u e s t i o n was e x a m i n e d t h r o u g h t e s t i n g a random s e l e c t i o n o f s t u d e n t s on s p e c i f i c t e s t i t e m s t a k e n f r o m t h e BC S c i e n c e A s s e s s m e n t and i n t e r v i e w i n g 15 o f t h e s e s t u d e n t s w i t h t h e s p e c i f i c q u e s t i o n "Can y o u e x p l a i n why y o u c h o s e t h e a n s w e r y o u d i d f o r q u e s t i o n 1...2.. e t c ? " E a c h s t u d e n t ' s r e s p o n s e t o t h e 23 i t e m t e s t was a u d i o -t a p e d a n d t h e i r r e s p o n s e s a n a l y z e d and c a t e g o r i z e d a s d i s c u s s e d i n C h a p t e r I I I . T h e s e a n a l y t i c p r o c e d u r e s y i e l d e d a f r e q u e n c y t a b l e o f r e s p o n s e s f o r b o y s a n d g i r l s f o r e a c h i t e m b r o k e n d o w n by e x p l a n a t o r y c a t e g o r i e s . T a b l e 3 p r o v i d e s t h e s e r e s p o n s e f r e q u e n c i e s . U s i n g t h e d a t a p r e s e n t e d i n T a b l e 3 f t h i s c h a p t e r i s o r g a n i z e d a r o u n d t h e d i s c u s s i o n o f t h e g e n e r a l q u e s t i o n s p r e s e n t e d i n C h a p t e r 1. Whenever p o s s i b l e , e x c e r p t s from s t u d e n t i n t e r v i e w s have been q u o t e d and u s e d t o e x e m p l i f y some p o i n t s r a i s e d by t h i s s t u d y . I n p a r e n t h e s e s , b e s i d e s e a c h q u o t e , t h e s u b j e c t s sex and l e v e l o f s c i e n c e e d u c a t i o n have been n o t e d . 32 TABLE 3 NUMBER OF RESPONSES BY CATEGORY FOR MALES AND FEMALES (N=8 ma les , 7 females) P . M 49 42 60 42 54 65 55 20 72 57 68 52 66 72 54 57 67 73 60 41 58 60 63 Va lues F 32 27 31 26 36 38 36 22 48 32 52 45 35 51 47 39 51 61 50 32 40 51 51 Exper ience Formal M F 4 3 3 1 1 4 4 3 4 1 1 3 1 3 1 7 6 3 3 3 3 2 0 0 3 4 6 2 1 1 4 6 7 5 2 4 6 2 4 4 6 6 O A O A 3 4 3 3 3 0 o; 1 In formal M F 2 2 5 3 2 1 1 2 2 3 4 4 2 1 2 4 2 4 3 Common Sense M F 0 A O A 1 0 1 0 0 2 0 3 1 1 3 3 3 4 1 1 6 3 1 2 O A 2 0 0 1 2 3 1 1 6 Guess ing M F 1 2 1 2 3 0 1 0 1 2 0 1 1 1 1 1 O A O A 1 0 M i s c e l -laneous M F 1 1 1 O A O A' 0 2 2 The O/A s p l i t r e f e r s to responses t o the two forms o f ques t i ons 20 -23 . There were 3 g i r l s and 4 boys respond ing t o the o r i g i n a l i tems (0) and 4 g i r l s and 4 boys respond ing t o the a l t e r e d i tems (A) . 33 T h e F i r s t R e s e a r c h Q u e s t i o n : Can t h e e v e r y d a y e x p e r i e n c e s o f b o y s and g i r l s be i d e n t i f i e d and c a t e g o r i z e d by e x p l a n a t i o n s p r o v i d e d by s t u d e n t s t o e x p l a i n t h e i r c h o i c e s on a s e t o f s c i e n c e a c h i e v e m e n t i t e m s ? F i v e c a t e g o r i e s w e r e e s t a b l i s h e d a s a r e s u l t o f an a n a l y s i s o f t h e i n t e r v i e w d a t a . T he i n t e r v i e w d a t a c o n s i s t e d o f e x p l a n a t i o n s g i v e n by t h e s t u d e n t s t o e x p l a i n t h e i r c h o i c e o f a n s w e r s t o t h e 23 s c i e n c e t e s t i t e m s . F r o m l i s t e n i n g t o t h e s e e x p l a n a t i o n s on t a p e a number o f common f a c t o r s were e s t a b l i s h e d . T h e s e common f a c t o r s w h i c h w e r e s u b s e q u e n t l y r e f e r r e d t o a s e x p l a n a t o r y c a t e g o r i e s were: f o r m a l e x p e r i e n c e , i n f o r m a l e x p e r i e n c e , common s e n s e , g u e s s i n g , and m i s c e l l a n e o u s . D e s c r i p t i o n s o f t h e s e c a t e g o r i e s a l o n g w i t h e x c e r p t s f r o m a number o f i n t e r v i e w s a r e i l l u s t r a t e d b e l o w . F o r m a l E x p e r i e n c e T h i s c a t e g o r y c o n s i s t e d o f s c h o o l b a s e d e x p e r i e n c e s . T h e s e i n c l u d e d t e x t b o o k s , r e a d i n g m a t e r i a l , m e d i a r e s o u r c e s , and s c h o o l i n s t r u c t i o n . F o r example: W e l l , i t ' s s o m e t h i n g I remember my t e a c h e r t e l l i n g me t o do ( f e m a l e , s c i e n c e 11). 34 Y o u a l w a y s m i x t h e w a t e r w i t h t h e a c i d , ( f e m a l e , s c i e n c e 1 1 ) . We l e a r n e d t h a t f r o m a b i o l o g y c o u r s e t h a t I h a d t a k e n (male, s c i e n c e 1 2 ) . I n f o r m a l E x p e r i e n c e T h i s c a t e g o r y c o n s i s t e d o f o u t o f s c h o o l e x p e r i e n c e . T h i s i n c l u d e d r e f e r e n c e t o s u c h e v e n t s a s h o b b i e s , TV, r e a d i n g ( m a g a z i n e s , b o o k s , n e w s p a p e r s ) l i s t e n i n g t o t h e r a d i o , p l a y i n g games and s o f o r t h . F o r example: I c h o s e number t w o b e c a u s e i n d r i v e r t r a i n i n g s c h o o l , t h a t ' s how l o n g i t t a k e s y o u t o s t o p , (male, s c i e n c e 1 1 ) . I g u e s s I've a l w a y s b e e n i n t e r e s t e d i n s u b m a r i n e s a n d s t u f f a n d I u s e d t h a t t o c h o o s e my answer (male, s c i e n c e 1 2 ) . Common Sense T h i s c a t e g o r y i n c l u d e d p r a c t i c a l k n o w l e d g e t h a t t h e s t u d e n t s h a d w i t h o u t n a m i n g an y p a r t i c u l a r e v e n t . F o r example: W e l l , t h a t ' s j u s t b a s i c k n o w l e d g e . S o m e t h i n g I l e a r n e d a t i m e ago. ( f e m a l e , s c i e n c e 1 2 ) . G u e s s i n g T h i s c a t e g o r y i n c l u d e d s t u d e n t r e s p o n s e s where t h e y s i m p l y s t a t e d t h a t t h e y d e r i v e d t h e i r a n s w e r s b y 35 g u e s s i n g . F o r e x a m p l e : 0h r I h a d n o i d e a f o r t h i s q u e s t i o n s o I g u e s s e d , ( f e m a l e , s c i e n c e 11). Oh b o y , I d o n ' t know w h a t w o u l d h a p p e n . I h a v e t o o m uch p r i d e t o p u t I d o n ' t know s o I g u e s s e d , ( f e m a l e , s c i e n c e 12). M i s c e l l a n e o u s T h i s c a t e g o r y i n c l u d e d a l l t h e r e s p o n s e s w h e r e s t u d e n t s c o u l d n ' t r e m e m b e r how t h e y o b t a i n e d t h e i r a n s w e r s o r t h e y s i m p l y s t a t e d t h a t i t l o o k e d l i k e t h e r i g h t a n s w e r , o r t h e y f o u n d t h e i r a n s w e r by t h e p r o c e s s o f e l i m i n a t i o n . F o r e x a m p l e : A t t h e t i m e I knew t h e a n s w e r , b u t i t s e e m s t o o l o n g a n d c o m p l i c a t e d t o r e m e m b e r w h a t I w a s t h i n k i n g ( m a l e , s c i e n c e 11). W e l l , I s o r t o f e l i m i n a t e d t h e o n e s I k new w e r e wrong ( f e m a l e , s c i e n c e 11) . T h e s e e x p l a n a t o r y c a t e g o r i e s p r o v i d e d a m e a n s o f c o n d e n s i n g t h e l a r g e a m o u n t o f d a t a p r e s e n t e d by t h e s t u d e n t i n t e r v i e w s . F r o m a t h o r o u g h r e v i e w o f t h e i n t e r v i e w t a p e s t h e i n v e s t i g a t o r d i s c o v e r e d i t was f a i r l y e a s y t o c a t e g o r i z e e a c h o f t h e s t u d e n t ' s r e s p o n s e s a c c o r d i n g t o one o f t h e f i v e c a t e g o r i e s . T h i s c a t e g o r i z a t i o n scheme a l l o w e d f o r c o m p a r i s o n s t o be made b e t w e e n b o y s and g i r l s r e s p o n s e s t o v a r i o u s s c i e n c e t e s t 36 i t e m s and p e r m i t t e d some i n s i g h t s i n t o t h e d i f f e r e n t i a l r e s p o n s e p a t t e r n s b e t w e e n t h e s e x e s . O n c e t h i s c a t e g o r i z a t i o n was c o m p l e t e a t o t a l number o f r e s p o n s e s by sex was e s t a b l i s h e d f o r e a c h c a t e g o r y ( T a b l e 3 ) . T h i s c o m p r e h e n s i v e t a b l e c o m p r i s i n g a l l o f t h e s t u d e n t s r e s p o n s e s t o e a c h i t e m , p r o v i d e d t h e s o u r c e o f d a t a upon w h i c h t h e r e m a i n d e r o f t h e r e s e a r c h q u e s t i o n s c o u l d be a d d r e s s e d . The Second R e s e a r c h Q u e s t i o n : A r e t h e r e s e x - r e l a t e d d i f f e r e n c e s i n t e r m s o f t h e s e e x p l a n a t o r y c a t e g o r i e s ? F r o m t h e r e s u l t s d i s p l a y e d i n T a b l e 3 t h e e x p l a n a t o r y c a t e g o r i e s t h a t a c c o u n t e d f o r t h e g r e a t e s t number o f b o y s and g i r l s r e s p o n s e s t o t h e 23 i t e m s were t h e c a t e g o r i e s o f f o r m a l e x p e r i e n c e , i n f o r m a l e x p e r i e n c e , a n d common s e n s e , r e s p e c t i v e l y . F o r t h e c a t e g o r i e s o f g u e s s i n g and m i s c e l l a n e o u s , t h e number o f bo y s and g i r l s r e s p o n s e s were m e a s u r a b l y s m a l l e r . A l l o f t h e s e c a t e g o r i e s w i l l be e x a m i n e d i n g r e a t e r d e t a i l b e l o w . A) FORMAL EXPERIENCE T h i s c a t e g o r y a c c o u n t e d f o r t h e l a r g e s t v a r i a t i o n i n t h e p e r c e n t a g e o f r e s p o n s e s f o r b o y s and g i r l s ( T a b l e 4 ) . I n t h e t y p e s o f r e s p o n s e s c i t e d b o t h b o y s and g i r l s m e n t i o n e d t e a c h e r s , s o m e t h i n g t h a t t h e y had remembered 37 TABLE 4 PERCENTAGE OF BOYS AND GIRLS RESPONSES BY CATEGORY F o r m a l I n f o r m a l Common S e n s e G u e s s i n g M i s c e l l a n e o u s B o y s 36* 21 22 10 12 G i r l s 54 16 14 7 9 * Rounded t o t h e n e a r e s t h u n d r e d s 38 d o i n g i n c l a s s , a n d t e x t b o o k l e a r n i n g a s t h e i r m a i n r e a s o n s f o r t h e i r c h o i c e o f a n s w e r s . I r e m e m b e r l e a r n i n g a b o u t c i r c u i t b r e a k e r s i n p h y s i c s 11 ( f e m a l e , s c i e n c e 11). I've h e a r d t h e t e r m b e f o r e . I t h i n k I h e a r d i t i n my s c i e n c e c l a s s ( f e m a l e , s c i e n c e 12). I l e a r n e d a b o u t t h i s f r o m C h e m i s t r y 11 ( m a l e , s c i e n c e 12). I d o n ' t h a v e much b a c k g r o u n d on e a r t h r o t a t i o n . I n g e o g r a p h y i n g r a d e 10 we s t u d i e d m a i n l y s e i s m o g r a p h s ( f e m a l e , s c i e n c e 11). I n t h i s c a t e g o r y t h e r e were s u b s t a n t i a l d i f f e r e n c e s i n t h e r e s p o n s e s b e t w e e n t h e s e x e s f o r a n u m b er o f s e l e c t e d s c i e n c e t e s t i t e m s (2,8,11,13, and 17). I t e m 2 was a p h y s i c s q u e s t i o n w h i c h i n v o l v e d t h e i n t e r p r e t a t i o n o f i n f o r m a t i o n d i s p l a y e d on a b a r g r a p h . The s e t t i n g o f t h e q u e s t i o n c e n t e r e d a r o u n d t h e t i m e and d i s t a n c e n e e d e d f o r a c a r t o s t o p . F o r t h i s i t e m t h e m a j o r i t y o f g i r l s u s e d f o r m a l e x p e r i e n c e s t o e x p l a i n t h e i r c h o i c e o f a n s w e r s . V i r t u a l l y a l l o f t h e g i r l s m e n t i o n e d t h a t t h e y u t i l i z e d t h e g r a p h t o f i n d t h e i r a n s w e r s . I c h o s e t h a t a n s w e r b e c a u s e t h e r e a c t i o n t i m e i n t h e g r a p h under one s e c o n d ( f e m a l e , s c i e n c e 11). I c h o s e t h e m i d d l e g r a p h b e c a u s e i t a p p e a r e d t o be t h e a v e r a g e t i m e ( f e m a l e , s c i e n c e 11). 39 I t i s i n t e r e s t i n g t o o b s e r v e t h a t a l t h o u g h a s u b s t a n t i a l number o f g i r l s a t t e m p t e d t o i n t e r p r e t t h e g r a p h , t h e P v a l u e s o f t h e g i r l s i s l o w e r t h a n t h e boys. A s t u d y by J o h n s o n a n d M u r p h y (1984) o f d a t a c o l l e c t e d f r o m s c i e n c e s u r v e y s c o n d u c t e d i n E n g l a n d , W a l e s , a n d N o r t h e r n I r e l a n d , s h o w e d s i g n i f i c a n t p e r f o r m a n c e d i f f e r e n c e s i n f a v o u r o f b o y s f o r u s i n g g r a p h s , t a b l e s , a n d c h a r t s . J o h n s o n and M u r p h y s u g g e s t t h a t w o r k w i t h g r a p h s i s more common i n t h e p h y s i c a l s c i e n c e s and s i n c e many more g i r l s t h a n b o ys d i s c o n t i n u e p h y s i c s a f t e r age 13, b o y s w i l l h a v e b e n e f i t e d f r o m a c o n t i n u e d f a m i l i a r i t y w i t h g r a p h i c a l r e p r e s e n t a t i o n . R e s p o n s e s f r o m b o y s f o r t h i s i t e m r e f l e c t e d n o t o n l y f o r m a l e x p e r i e n c e , b u t i n f o r m a l e x p e r i e n c e a n d common s e n s e a s w e l l . I t o o k a d r i v e r s t e s t w h i c h g a v e me p r a c t i c a l l y t h e same q u e s t i o n a s t h i s (male, s c i e n c e 12). I b a s e d my a n s w e r on how l o n g i t t a k e s me t o s t o p i n a c a r ( m a l e , s c i e n c e 1 1 ) . Item 8 was a c h e m i s t r y i t e m w h i c h i n v o l v e d t h e d i l u t i o n o f an a c i d w i t h w a t e r . S e v e n o u t o f 7 g i r l s c i t e d f o r m a l e x p e r i e n c e as e x p l a n a t i o n s compared t o 3 o u t o f 8 b o y s . I a s k e d my t e a c h e r and he s a i d t h a t w h e n e v e r y o u d i l u t e s o m e t h i n g y o u add w a t e r ( f e m a l e , s c i e n c e 11). 40 I took c h e m i s t r y l a s t y e a r and we s o r t of put one s o l u t i o n i n t o another ( female, sc ience 12). I t i s i n t e r e s t i n g to n o t i c e tha t wh i l e a l l of the g i r l s r e f e r r e d to fo rma l exper ience to j u s t i f y t h e i r answers, the t ype of knowledge b e i n g t e s t e d by the q u e s t i o n p e r t a i n e d t o p e r f o r m i n g l a b o r a t o r y work . K a h l e (1983) s t a t e s tha t g i r l s have fewer o p p o r t u n i t i e s to p a r t i c i p a t e i n common l abo ra to r y exper iences than boys and t h e r e f o r e l a c k the s k i l l s and knowledge needed i n t h i s a rea . Item 11 was a chemis t ry i tem i n v o l v i n g the concepts of shape, we igh t , and dens i t y us ing an egg as the example. Four out of 7 g i r l s used f o r m a l e x p e r i e n c e t o answer t h i s i tem compared to 1 out of 8 boys . We l e a r n e d a l i t t l e a b o u t t h a t i n s c i e n c e 10 a l though I never d i d any th ing w i t h i t ( female, sc ience 1 1 ) . I remember the te rms i n my c h e m i s t r y 11 c l a s s ( female, s c i e n c e 11) . Responses from the boys seemed to focus around the common sense and m isce l l aneous c a t e g o r i e s . The o t h e r r e s p o n s e s d i d n ' t sound r i g h t so I put down volume as my answer (male, sc ience 11). I assumed t h a t most eggs have equa l d e n s i t y j u s t by l o o k i n g them (male, sc i ence 11). 41 I t e m 13 was a p h y s i c s i t e m i n v o l v i n g t h e p u r p o s e o f a f u s e o r c i r c u i t b r e a k e r . F o r t h i s i t e m 6 o u t o f 7 g i r l s u s e d f o r m a l e x p e r i e n c e t o e x p l a i n t h e i r a n s w e r s c o m p a r e d t o 3 o u t o f 8 b o y s . T h e P v a l u e s f r o m T a b l e 3 i l l u s t r a t e t h a t o n l y 35% o f g i r l s c o m p a r e d t o 66% o f b o y s s e l e c t e d t h e c o r r e c t a n s w e r . D i s c r e p a n c i e s i n t h e p e r f o r m a n c e o f g i r l s a n d b o y s on q u e s t i o n s i n v o l v i n g e l e c t r i c i t y seems t o be a f a i r l y e s t a b l i s h e d phenomna ( J o h n s o n and Murphy, 1984). A d d i t i o n a l l y , L i e and B r y h n i (1983) have r e p o r t e d t h a t s t u d e n t s who a r e i n t e r e s t e d i n e l e c t r i c i t y a n d h a v e some r e l a t e d e x p e r i e n c e i n t h i s domain s c o r e h i g h e r t h a n s t u d e n t s who do n o t have t h e same i n t e r e s t s o r e x p e r i e n c e s . As t h e f o l l o w i n g e x c e r p t r e v e a l s , t h e f e m a l e s u b j e c t had v e r y l i t t l e i n t e r e s t i n t h e e l e c t r i c a l a r e a . I n t e r v i e w e r : Why d i d y o u c h o s e t h a t p a r t i c u l a r a nswer? S u b j e c t : I know what a c i r c u i t b r e a k e r i s . I t makes t h i n g s go i n two d i r e c t i o n s . We d i d i t i n g r a d e 10. I wasn't i n t o i t . I d i d n ' t p u t i t i n my l o n g t e r m memory. I t was a l i t t l e t e d i o u s and h a r d f o r me t o u n d e r s t a n d . I t wasn't s o m e t h i n g t h a t I w o u l d u s e a l l t h e t i m e . I w o u l d n ' t p u t w i r e s up i n my h o u s e . I t h i n k i n o t h e r a r e a s t h a t a r e n ' t as t e c h n i c a l a s t h a t . I n t e r v i e w e r : Such a s . . . S u b j e c t : W e l l , I l i k e m a k i n g t h i n g s a n d d r a w i n g p i c t u r e s . 42 Boys responses g e n e r a l l y tended to focus on experiences t h a t they had been i n v o l v e d w i t h at one time or another. I b u i l t a basement s u i t e d o w n s t a i r s and I took s t a g e c r a f t as w e l l (male, s c i e n c e 11). That I know from s t u f f around the house. F u s e s blow i n our house a l l the time. I u s u a l l y go downstairs and switch the breakers (male, s c i e n c e 12). I t e m 17 was a c h e m i s t r y i t e m i n v o l v i n g k e e p i n g s u b s t a n c e s ( i n c l u d i n g HC1 and s u l f u r i c a c i d , sodium h y d r o x i d e and p o t a s s i u m h y d r o x i d e , t i n and l e a d , and a l c o h o l and e t h e r ) away from open s p a r k s and f l a m e s . Responses f o r t h i s item i n d i c a t e d t h a t 4 out of 7 g i r l s used formal experience compared t o 1 out of 8 boys. Boys te n d e d t o p r e f e r t o use i n f o r m a l e x p e r i e n c e and common sense to e x p l a i n t h e i r answers. I chose t h i s one because when we worked w i t h bunsen burners and chemical substances the teacher would say be c a r e f u l when you l i g h t i t (female, s c i e n c e 11) . Oh, I know t h i s one from c h e m i s t r y . The OH g r o u p would be snatched up (female, s c i e n c e 12). I know t h a t a l c o h o l i s flammable. I burnt i t . Ether i s a gas and t o my knowledge gases a r e e x p l o s i v e (male, s c i e n c e 11 ). F i n d i n g s i n t h i s e x p l a n a t o r y c a t e g o r y s t r o n g l y suggest t h a t g i r l s tend to use more formal experiences 43 t h a n b o y s and t h i s i s e s p e c i a l l y e v i d e n t f o r i t e m s w h i c h c o u l d be c o n s i d e r e d t o be w i t h i n t h e r e a l m o f a b o y s s p h e r e o f e x p e r i e n c e . A l l o f t h e i t e m s d i s c u s s e d a b o v e c o u l d be r e g a r d e d a s i t e m s i n w h i c h b o y s a r e m o r e f a m i l i a r w i t h t h a n g i r l s ( e l e c t r i c i t y , c a r s , c h e m i s t r y l a b s ) . S t u d i e s c o m p l e t e d by L i e and B r y h n i (1983) a n d K a h l e e t a l (1985) i l l u s t r a t e d t h a t b o y s a n d g i r l s a c t i v i t i e s a r e q u i t e d i f f e r e n t and t h a t b o y s t e n d e d t o d o m i n a t e i n t i n k e r i n g a c t i v i t i e s s u c h a s t a k i n g i t e m s a p a r t , w h i l e g i r l s w e r e r e l a t i v e l y w e a k i n t h e s e a r e a s ( T a b l e 5). M o r e o v e r , L i e and B r y h n i p o s t u l a t e d t h a t a c h i e v e m e n t i s r e l a t e d t o e x p e r i e n c e a n d g i r l s u n d e r a c h i e v e i n f i e l d s where t h e y have l e s s e x p e r i e n c e . P e r h a p s b e c a u s e o f a more l i m i t e d e x p e r i e n c e b a s e i n t h e p h y s i c a l s c i e n c e s , g i r l s draw upon f o r m a l k nowledge t h a t t h e y have l e a r n e d a t one t i m e or a n o t h e r . T h i s i s n o t t o s a y a s r e f l e c t e d i n T a b l e 3 f i n d i n g s , t h a t b o y s don't use f o r m a l e x p e r i e n c e s , b u t g i r l s use i t t o a much g r e a t e r e x t e n t t o j u s t i f y t h e i r answers.An i n -t r e p r e t a t i o n o f t h e I n t e r n a t i o n a l S c i e n c e A s s e s s m e n t d a t a by K e l l y (1981) i n d i c a t e d t h a t i n s t r u c t i o n i n p h y s i c s was c o n s i d e r e d by g i r l s t o be more i m p o r t a n t t h a n i t was f o r b o y s . I t was s u g g e s t e d by K e l l y (1981) t h a t b o y s a c q u i r e k n o w l e d g e o f p h y s i c s i n i n f o r m a l s i t u a t i o n s w h e r e b y g i r l s a r e more d e p e n d e n t u p o n i n s t r u c t i o n i n s c h o o l , e v e n t h o u g h as can be s e e n f r o m t h e d a t a i n t h i s s t u d y , t h e g i r l s h a v e n o t t h o r o u g h l y u n d e r s t o o d t h e 44 TABLE 5 PERCENTAGES OF 1983 SAMPLE RESPONDING POSITIVELY TO ITEMS CONCERNING SCIENCE ACTIVITIES, BY GENDER Percentage Responding P o s i t i v e l y Item T o t a l (S td . E r ro r ) Male Female % % % % Have you ever worked o r exper imented w i t h / u s e d / s e e / v i s i t e d : e l e c t r i c i t y ? 74. .1 (3, .0) 84. .2 69. .5 e ros i on? 39, .2 (3, .1) 41, .1 36. .9 t e l escope? 78, .4 (2, .6) 83. .2 73. .1 e l e c t r i c i t y meter? 40. .5 (3, .1) 54. ,2 32. .8 an imal ske le ton? 86, .8 (2, .1) 93, .0 82. .3 s o l a r heat c o l l e c t o r ? 44. .9 (3, .2) 53. .2 37, .0 Nor th S ta r? 68, .9 (2, .9) 98, .1 59, .5 moon through a t e l escope? 51, .6 (3, .2) 60. .4 47. .3 skysc rape r? 66, .9 (3, .0) 82. .3 57. .2 e l e c t r i c i t y p l a n t ? 34, .3 (3, .0) 44. .8 25. .4 rock quar ry /mine? 59, .5 (3, .1) 65. .6 57. .2 Have you e v e r : w i red toge ther an e l e c t r i c c i r c u i t ? 64, .5 (3, .8) 77. .1 55. .4 touched a s n a k e / l i z a r d 82, .0 (2, .4) 94, .8 70. .0 taken something apar t to see how i t works? 72, .9 (2, .8) 90. .0 59. .2 made a magnet w i t h e l e c t r i c i t y and w i re? 40, .9 (3, .1) 52. .1 32. .8 f i x e d something e l e c t r i c a l ? 46, .6 (3, .2) 68. .4 27. .5 f i x e d something mechan ica l? 54, .2 (3, .1) 77, .1 37. .4 taken ca re o f an unhea l thy an imal? 46, .8 (3, .1) 38. .5 49, .6 Source : K a h l e , Matyas, and Cho (1985) p. 391 45 c o n c e p t s a n d i d e a s t h a t w e r e d i s c u s s e d i n t h e s c i e n c e c l a s s r o o m . B) I n f o r m a l E x p e r i e n c e I n t h i s e x p l a n a t o r y c a t e g o r y a g r e a t e r p e r c e n t a g e o f b o y s e x p l a i n e d t h e i r a n s w e r s u s i n g i n f o r m a l e x p e r i e n c e t h a n d i d g i r l s ( T a b l e 4 ) . T h e r e were o n l y 7 i t e m s where i n f o r m a l e x p e r i e n c e was n o t us e d by any o f t h e b o y s t o j u s t i f y t h e i r a n s w e r s . I n c o n t r a s t , t h e r e w e r e 13 i t e m s w h e r e g i r l s d i d n ' t u s e a n y i n f o r m a l e x p e r i e n c e s t o e x p l a i n t h e i r c h o i c e o f a n s w e r s . Some o f t h e e x p l a n a t i o n s c i t e d by t h e b o y s r a n g e d f r o m s o m e t h i n g t h e y had done a t home t o r e a d i n g books o r m a g a z i n e s o r s i m p l y p u r s u i n g a hobby o r i n t e r e s t . E v e r y t i m e a f u s e b l o w s , I u s u a l l y go d o w n s t a i r s t o ch e c k t h e c i r c u i t b r e a k e r (male, s c i e n c e 11). I l e a r n e d a b o u t t h i s when I was i n s t a g e c r a f t where I was r e s p o n s i b l e f o r t h e l i g h t i n g (male, s c i e n c e 11) . I remember s o m e t h i n g a b o u t t h i s b e c a u s e I had a j o b as a s u r v e y o r (male, s c i e n c e 11). I'm i n t e r e s t e d i n n u c l e a r p o w e r . I r e a d b o o k s a n d s t u f f on i t (male, s c i e n c e 12). Some o f h o b b i e s t h e y n e wspaper or t h e e x p l a n a t i o n s c i t e d by p u r s u e d o r s o m e t h i n g t h e y w a t c h e d on TV. t h e g i r l s w e r e h a d r e a d i n t h e 46 W e l l , I know f r o m d i v i n g t h a t t h e d e e p e r y o u go t h e g r e a t e r t h e p r e s s u r e ( f e m a l e , s c i e n c e 11). What I t h o u g h t a b o u t s t e a m i s t h a t i t moves a b o u t a r oom. When y o u p u t a k e t t l e on a s t o v e and c l o s e t h e k i t c h e n d o o r t h e w i n d o w s f o g up ( f e m a l e , s c i e n c e 11) . I saw s o m e t h i n g l i k e t h i s on a show Q u i n c y - where t h e y were a l l b u r n e d up f r o m r a d i a t i o n ( f e m a l e , s c i e n c e 11) . F i n d i n g s f r o m t h i s c a t e g o r y s u g g e s t t h a t b o y s a n d g i r l s u s e d i f f e r e n t t y p e s o f e x p e r i e n c e s i n a n s w e r i n g q u e s t i o n s t e s t e d . D e p e n d i n g upon t h e n a t u r e o f t h e t e s t i t e m t h e s e i n f o r m a l e x p e r i e n c e s f o r b o y s i n c l u d e h o b b i e s s u c h as c o m p u t e r s and model making, r e a d i n g s c i e n t i f i c m a g a z i n e s o r l i s t e n i n g t o s c i e n c e p r o g r a m s . I t c o u l d be p o s t u l a t e d t h a t i t e m s w h e r e b o y s u s e d m o r e i n f o r m a l e x p e r i e n c e s t o a n s w e r t h e q u e s t i o n s t h a n g i r l s w e r e i t e m s t h a t w e r e w i t h i n a b o y ' s s p h e r e o f e x p e r i e n c e . T h e s e i t e m s , w h i c h i n c l u d e d a c h e m i s t r y l a b a n d a e l e c t r i c i t y i t e m , a r e c o n s i d e r e d i t e m s t h a t many more b o y s a r e f a m i l i a r w i t h t h a n g i r l s ( K a h l e e t a l , 1985). M o r e o v e r , E r i c k s o n and E r i c k s o n (1984) s u g g e s t t h a t b o y s do b e t t e r t h a n g i r l s on i t e m s w h i c h d e a l w i t h o b j e c t s a n d e v e n t s d r a w n f r o m t h e i r s p h e r e o f e x p e r i e n c e . T h e y m e n t i o n t h a t i t e m s i n v o l v i n g e l e c t r i c i t y o r p h y s i c s a r e more l i k e l y t o be e n c o u n t e r e d i n a b o y s e v e r y d a y l i f e t h a n g i r l s . 47 F o r t h e g i r l s , i n f o r m a l e x p e r i e n c e s i n c l u d e d s o m e t h i n g t h e y h a d o b s e r v e d on TV o r r e a d i n a m a g a z i n e , l i s t e n i n g t o f r i e n d s , a n d h o b b i e s s u c h a s s w i m m i n g . I t s e e m s t h a t f o r some i t e m s w h e r e g i r l s c i t e d i n f o r m a l e x p e r i e n c e s f o r t h e i r a n s w e r s a r e i t e m s f a m i l i a r enough t o g i r l s t h a t t h e y c a n r e c a l l i n f o r m a l e x p e r i e n c e s . I t e m 5, w h i c h i n v o l v e d d i v i n g i n t o t h e oc e a n n e a r t h e e q u a t o r a n d e x p l a i n i n g why t h e w a t e r g o t c o l d e r t h e d e e p e r y o u w e n t , w a s a n i t e m w h e r e s e v e r a l g i r l s u s e d t h e i r s w i m m i n g a n d d i v i n g e x p e r i e n c e s t o f o r m u l a t e t h e i r a n s w e r s . W e l l , I know f r o m d i v i n g t h a t t h e d e e p e r y o u go t h e c o l d e r t h e w a t e r g e t s ( f e m a l e , s c i e n c e 11). I know f r o m t a k i n g s w i m m i n g l e s s o n s t h a t t h i s i s t r u e ( f e m a l e , s c i e n c e 11). C) Common Sense I n t h i s c a t e g o r y b o y s r e s p o n d e d t o 19 i t e m s u s i n g common s e n s e compared t o 9 i t e m s f o r t h e g i r l s . Common s e n s e r e s p o n s e s i n c l u d e d e x p e r i e n c e s t h a t t h e s t u d e n t s seemed t o draw upon w i t h o u t naming any p a r t i c u l a r e v e n t . Boys r e s p o n s e s f o r many o f t h e i t e m s i n v o l v e d s o m e t h i n g t h a t t h e y had l e a r n e d a t some t i m e o r a n o t h e r . W e l l , t h a t j u s t b a s i c k n o w l e d g e . S o m e t h i n g I l e a r n e d a l o n g t i m e ago (male, s c i e n c e 11). T h i s s o r t o f made s e n s e t o me. I t was l o g i c a l (male, s c i e n c e 11). 48 B e c a u s e common s e n s e knowledge i n c o r p o r a t e s a l l t h e e x p e r i e n c e s t h a t an i n d i v i d u a l has and i s d e p e n d e n t on t h e s o c i a l e n v i r o n m e n t t h e n b o y s s h o u l d h a v e a n a d v a n t a g e o v e r g i r l s i n t h e s c i e n c e a r e a . T h e w h o l e r a n g e o f s o c i o l o g i c a l and c u l t u r a l f a c t o r s a s d i s c u s s e d i n C h a p t e r I I no d o u b t i n f l u e n c e s how b o y s a n d g i r l s p e r c e i v e a n d r e a c t t o t h e i r e n v i r o n m e n t . B e c a u s e b o y s a r e c o n d i t i o n e d by s o c i e t y t o p l a y w i t h t o y s a n d g a m e s w h i c h may e n h a n c e s p a t i a l a b i l i t i e s a n d e n c o u r a g e s c i e n t i f i c e n d e a v o r s , t h e y h a v e g r e a t e r o p p o r t u n i t i e s t h a n g i r l s t o a c c u m u l a t e e x p e r i e n c e t h a t i s n e c e s s a r y f o r t h e u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f r e l e v a n t s c i e n c e c o n c e p t s . D) G u e s s i n g The c a t e g o r y o f g u e s s i n g c o m p r i s e d o n l y a s m a l l p e r c e n t a g e o f t h e t o t a l r e s p o n s e s f o r b o y s a n d g i r l s ( T a b l e 4 ) . The i n t e r e s t i n g f a c t t o o b s e r v e i s t h a t e v e n t h o u g h a l i m i t e d s a m p l e w a s s t u d i e d , t h e r e s u l t s i l l u s t r a t e t h a t t h e d i f f e r e n c e i n g u e s s i n g b e t w e e n b o y s a n d g i r l s i s n o t t h a t l a r g e . I t d o e s n ' t a p p e a r a s i f b o y s a r e more w i l l i n g t h a n g i r l s t o g u e s s f o r any p a r t i c u l a r i t e m . I n summary, f r o m an e x a m i n a t i o n o f t h e a b o v e c a t e g o r i e s i t a p p e a r s t h a t s e x - r e l a t e d d i f f e r e n c e s i n r e s p o n s e s do e x i s t p a r t i c u l a r l y i n t h e c a t e g o r i e s o f f o r m a l e x p e r i e n c e , i n f o r m a l e x p e r i e n c e , and common s e n s e . 49 I t i s s u g g e s t e d t h a t t h e e x p e r i e n c e t h a t b o y s b r i n g t o a s c i e n c e q u e s t i o n may w e l l i n f l u e n c e how w e l l t h e y w i l l d o o n a i t e m . G i r l s w i t h t h e i r m o r e l i m i t e d e x p e r i e n t a l b a s e r e l y m o r e on f o r m a l l e a r n i n g . T h e h i g h e r p e r c e n t a g e o f r e s p o n s e s f o r b o y s f o r t h e common s e n s e c a t e g o r y r e f l e c t t h e i n f l u e n c e s o f e a r l y s o c i e t a l and c u l t u r a l f a c t o r s . F i n a l l y , t h e e x p l a n a t o r y c a t e g o r y o f g u e s s i n g s h o w e d l i t t l e s u b s t a n t i a l d i f f e r e n c e s b e t w e e n boys and g i r l s . The T h i r d R e s e a r c h Q u e s t i o n : I s t h e r e any r e l a t i o n s h i p between s e x - r e l a t e d d i f f e r e n c e s i n t h e s e c a t e g o r i e s and t e s t i t e m c o n t e x t ? From t h e r e s p o n s e s i l l u s t r a t e d i n T a b l e 3 and T a b l e 4 i t a p p e a r s t h a t some o f t h e i t e m s e l i c i t e d q u i t e d i f -f e r e n t r e s p o n s e s f r o m b o y s and g i r l s . I t e m s 2,8,11,13,and 17 as d i s c u s s e d under f o r m a l e x p e r i e n c e , e l i c i t e d a g r e a t e r n u m b e r o f f o r m a l r e s p o n s e s f r o m g i r l s t h a n b o y s . T h e s e i t e m s w h i c h i n v o l v e d e l e c t r i c i t y , p h y s i c s and c h e m i s t r y l a b w o r k , c o u l d be c o n s i d e r e d i t e m s i n w h i c h b o y s a r e more f a m i l i a r w i t h and r e l a t e t o by u s i n g more i n f o r m a l e x p e r i e n c e s . R e s p o n s e s f r o m t h e b o y s show t h a t t h e y u t i l i z e i n f o r m a l e x p e r i e n c e s t o d e r i v e t h e i r a n s w e r s . 50 W e l l , I know from d r i v i n g tha t i s how long i t takes me to s top (male, sc ience 1 2 ) . I'm i n t e r e s t e d i n e l e c t r o n i c s so I know abou t c i r c u i t b reakers (male, sc ience 11). To probe f u r t h e r i n t o the ques t i on of whether t e s t i t e m c o n t e x t wou ld r e s u l t i n d i f f e r e n t r e s p o n s e s f o r boys and g i r l s , an a t t e m p t was made to a l t e r s e v e r a l of the t e s t i t e m s . A p p r o x i m a t e l y h a l f of the i n t e r v i e w e d s t u d e n t s were g i v e n the a l t e r e d v e r s i o n and the o t h e r h a l f r ece i ved the o r i g i n a l v e r s i o n of the t e s t . Item 22 was a chemis t ry i tem whose o r i g i n a l s e t t i n g was a l abo ra to r y where a t i g h t l y stoppered t e s t tube was l e f t to b o i l under the f l ame of a bunsen b u r n e r . In the a l t e r e d v e r s i o n the s e t t i n g was changed t o a k i t c h e n where a t i g h t l y s e a l e d c a s s e r o l e d i s h was l e f t t o b o i l under the d i r e c t f l a m e of a gas s t o v e . For the o r i g i n a l v e r s i o n 3 out of 4 g i r l s used fo rma l exper ience compared t o 2 out of 4 b o y s . W e l l , I remember my sc ience teacher t e l l i n g me tha t you s h o u l d never l e a v e a s t o p p e r e d t e s t tube b o i l i n g ( female, sc ience 11). I t h i n k I remember do ing some th i ng l i k e t h i s i n a l a b but my p a r t n e r was d o i n g most of the work ( female, s c i ence 11). However , i n the a l t e r e d v e r s i o n of the t e s t a l l t h ree g i r l s exp la i ned t h e i r answers i n terms of i n f o r m a l exper ience compared to 2 out of 4 boys. The ma jo r i t y of 51 g i r l s r e s p o n s e s c e n t e r e d a r o u n d c o o k i n g o r s o m e t h i n g t h e y had done i n t h e k i t c h e n . I w o u l d t u r n i t down t o l o w h e a t . I f s t e a m b u i l t up i t w o u l d b l o w t h e l i d o f f i f i t was s e a l e d t i g h t l y ( f e m a l e , s c i e n c e 11). W h e n e v e r I h a v e a n y t h i n g b o i l i n g on t h e s t o v e I t u r n i t d o w n t o l o w h e a t a n d t a k e t h e l i d o f f ( f e m a l e , s c i e n c e 11). I know t h a t a c a s s e r o l e d i s h i s p r e t t y d e a d l y b e c a u s e i t c a n e x p l o d e on y o u i f y o u d o n ' t t u r n down t h e h e a t ( f e m a l e , s c i e n c e 11). I t a p p e a r s f r o m t h e above f i n d i n g s t h a t t h e s e t t i n g o f a q u e s t i o n d o e s i n f l u e n c e how a boy o r g i r l a n s w e r s a q u e s t i o n . A m o re f a m i l i a r s e t t i n g t o a g i r l s u c h a s a k i t c h e n , s e e m s t o r e s u l t i n a h i g h e r p e r c e n t a g e o f i n f o r m a l r e s p o n s e s a l t h o u g h i t d i d n o t s i g n i f i c a n t l y i m p r o v e t h e g i r l s p e r f o r m a n c e on t h e i t e m . T h i s f a i l u r e s h o u l d be e x a m i n e d i n t h e l i g h t o f t h e c h a n g e d i t e m w h e r e t h e m o r e s t a n d a r d p r a c t i c e i s when a s a u c e p a n o f w a t e r i s b o i l i n g ( e v e n w i t h t h e l i d on) t o t u r n down t h e h e a t t o l o w . The c o r r e c t r e s p o n s e f o r t h e o r i g i n a l i t e m h owever, was t o t u r n o f f t h e h e a t c o m p l e t e l y . I t e m s 20 a n d 21 w e r e a l t e r e d t o s e e i f a c h a n g e i n t h e d i s t r a c t o r s w o u l d r e s u l t i n d i f f e r e n t e x p l a n a t i o n s f o r b o t h b o y s a n d g i r l s . T he o r i g i n a l d i s t r a c t o r s w h i c h c o n t a i n e d s u c h u n f a m i l i a r t e r m s a s b a l l m i l l a b r a s i o n , w e r e changed t o more common t e r m s s u c h as m o i s t u r e and t e m p e r a t u r e . When e x a m i n i n g t h e r e s p o n s e s g i v e n by b o y s 52 and g i r l s , b o t h s e x e s r e l i e d on f o r m a l e x p e r i e n c e . F o r t h i s q u e s t i o n I l o o k e d a t t h e g r a p h and f i g u r e d o u t t h e c o r r e c t answer (male, s c i e n c e 11). By l o o k i n g a t t h e g r a p h I f i g u r e d t h a t t h e t i m e w o u l d be s i x h o u r s ( f e m a l e , s c i e n c e 11). T h e s e e x p l a n a t i o n s p r o v i d e d by t h e s t u d e n t s a r e s i m i l i a r r e g a r d l e s s o f w h e t h e r o r n o t t h e i t e m s d i s t r a c t o r s had b e en a l t e r e d . From t h e i n t e r v i e w d a t a i t a p p e a r s t h a t t h e s t u d e n t s a r e r e a d i n g f r o m t h e g r a p h s an d w e r e n o t m i s l e a d by e i t h e r s e t o f d i s t r a c t o r s . As t h e f o l l o w i n g e x c e r p t b e t w e e n i n t e r v i e w e r a n d s u b j e c t r e v e a l , t h e a c t u a l d i s t r a c t o r h a d l i t t l e t o do w i t h o b t a i n i n g an answer. S u b j e c t : B e c a u s e o f t h i s ( p o i n t i n g t o a l i n e on t h e g r a p h ) I c h o s e my a n s w e r w h i c h i s b a l l m i l l a b r a s i o n . I n t e r v i e w e r : Do y o u know what b a l l m i l l a b r a s i o n i s ? S u b j e c t : No i d e a l I t e m 23 , a c h e m i s t r y q u e s t i o n was d i a g r a m i c a l l y a l t e r e d t o show s a u c e p a n s i n s t e a d o f l a b o r a t o r y f l a s k s . R e g a r d l e s s o f t h e a l t e r a t i o n s , t h i s i t e m was c o n s i d e r e d c o n f u s i n g by a l a r g e n u m b e r o f s t u d e n t s a n d t h i s c o n f u s i o n i s r e f l e c t e d i n t h e r e s p o n s e s c i t e d . 53 W e l l , f o r t h i s one I was c o n f u s e d a b o u t t h e d i a g r a m . I d i d n ' t know what t h e y meant (female, s c i e n c e 11). I don't r e a l l y remember what I was t h i n k i n g when I answered t h i s q u e s t i o n . I t would take too much e f f o r t t o go over i t (male, s c i e n c e 12) . A c a l c u l a t i o n of P v a l u e s f o r the a l t e r e d i t e m s showed t h a t t h e r e was l i t t l e v a r i a t i o n between t h e o r i g i n a l i t e m s and t h e r e v i s e d ones ( T a b l e 2). More of the boys answered more of the items c o r r e c t l y r e g a r d l e s s of whether or not they had been a l t e r e d . In summary i t appears t h a t items whose context i s p r i m a r i l y concerned w i t h e l e c t r i c i t y , chemistry l a b s or p h y s i c s seem to evoke d i f f e r e n t responses from boys and g i r l s . Boys use more i n f o r m a l r e s p o n s e s w h i l e g i r l s r e l y s t r i c t l y on formal responses. When an attempt was made t o a l t e r the c o n t e x t of an i t e m i n t o one i n w h i c h g i r l s might be more f a m i l i a r ( k i t c h e n s e t t i n g ) more of the g i r l s used i n f o r m a l e x p e r i e n c e s t o j u s t i f y t h e i r answers. The Fourth Research Question: Is there any evidence t h a t the context of an item i n f l u e n c e s the students a f f e c t i v e responses to t h a t item? T h e r e were a number of i t e m s t h a t e l i c i t e d i m m e d i a t e n e g a t i v e r e s p o n s e s f r o m the g i r l s when they 5 4 were asked to e x p l a i n the reason ing fo r t h e i r cho ice of a n s w e r s . For the m a j o r i t y of boys t h i s w a s n ' t t he c a s e . In f a c t , on l y one boy men t i oned t h a t he d i s l i k e d an i t e m . T h i s n e g a t i v i t y i n r e s p o n s e s by g i r l s was e s p e c i a l l y apparent f o r i tems 7 and 13. I tem 7 was a p h y s i c s i t e m w h i c h i n v o l v e d the o p e r a t i o n o f a b u n s e n b u r n e r . Many of t h e g i r l s expressed concern over the opera t ion of a bunsen burner . I never want to l i g h t another bunsen burner aga in . They scare me ( female, sc ience 11). W e l l , I got my par tner to do i t . I went and d i d the other s t u f f . Maybe I was a f r a i d of bunsen burners ( female, sc i ence 11). Bunsen b u r n e r s s c a r e me. I never d i d l e a r n how to use them ( female , sc ience 12). I tem 13 was a p h y s i c s i t e m w h i c h i n v o l v e d the purpose of a fuse or c i r c u i t b reaker . Oh no, no t ano the r p h y s i c s i t e m ! ( f e m a l e , s c i e n c e 11) . I remember d o i n g a t h i n g on t h i s but most of t h i s comes from t a l k i n g to the guys. I'm not i n t o t e c h n i c a l s t u f f ( female, sc ience 11). There was one boy who e x p r e s s e d s t r o n g n e g a t i v e r e a c t i o n s to any ea r th / space sc ience ques t i on . I h a v e n ' t t a k e n e a r t h s c i e n c e . I ha te a n y t h i n g t o do w i t h e a r t h s c i e n c e , t he s t a r s e t c . I f i n d i t 55 e x t r e m e l y b o r i n g . I f o u n d t h i s i t e m v e r y b o r i n g . I t t o o k t o o much e f f o r t t o e l i m i n a t e t h e d i s t r a c t o r s so I g u e s s e d (male, s c i e n c e 12) T h e g e n e r a l n e g a t i v i t y o n t h e p a r t o f t h e g i r l s p r e c i p i t a t e d by b a d e x p e r i e n c e a n d l a c k o f c o n f i d e n c e m i g h t m i t i g a t e a g a i n s t good t e s t p e r f o r m a n c e f o r g i r l s . E r i c k s o n a n d E r i c k s o n ( 1 9 8 4 ) s u g g e s t t h a t i n a n y t e a c h i n g s i t u a t i o n w h i c h i n v o l v e s i n p u t ( t e a c h i n g m a t e r i a l s ) , t h e c u r r e n t s t a t e o f t h e s y s t e m ( m i n d ) a n d t h e o u t p u t ( s t u d e n t s b e h a v i o u r ) i t i s o f t e n t h e c u r r e n t s t a t e o f t h e s y s t e m w h i c h i s i g n o r e d o r m i n i m i z e d i n i n s t r u c t i o n a l p l a n n i n g . T h e y a r g u e t h a t t h i s s y s t e m i s i n f l u e n c e d by p r e r e q u i s i t e k n o w l e d g e a n d s k i l l s w h i c h m i g h t i n c l u d e p r i o r e x p e r i e n c e a n d o f c o u r s e t h e m o t i v a t i o n a l s t a t e o f t h e s t u d e n t a t t h a t p o i n t i n t i m e . A s i d e f r o m t h e i m m e d i a t e n e g a t i v i t y t h a t t h e g i r l s d i s p l a y e d f o r a number o f i t e m s , t h e r e was an u n d e r l y i n g u n s u r e n e s s i n many o f t h e g i r l s e x p l a n a t i o n s f o r t h e i r a n s w e r s . T h i s a p p e a r e d t o be f a i r l y p e r v a s i v e t h r o u g h o u t t h e 23 i t e m s . Some o f t h e f o l l o w i n g e x e r p t t a k e n f r o m s e v e r a l o f t h e i n t e r v i e w s s t r e s s t h i s p o i n t . Oh, I d o n ' t know why I p u t t h a t one. I g u e s s t h e answer i s d e n s i t y , i s n ' t i t ? ( f e m a l e , s c i e n c e 11). I w a s n ' t s u r e a b o u t t h i s o n e. I b e l i e v e t h a t d e n s i t y had t o do w i t h w a t e r . We d i d an e x p e r i m e n t on i t o n c e . M e r c u r y h a s a h i g h d e n s i t y a n d w a t e r has a so so d e n s i t y ( f e m a l e , s c i e n c e 11). Oh, t h i s I t h i n k I remembered d o i n g i n t h e p h y s i c s 56 l a b . I s o r t of l o o k e d a t the d i a g r a m s ( f e m a l e , s c i e n c e 11). T h i s u n c e r t a i n t y was d e f i n i t e l y no t p r e s e n t when t h e b o y s e x p l a i n e d t h e i r c h o i c e o f a n s w e r s . B o y s appeared t o be much more s e l f a s s u r e d and t h i s was r e f l e c t e d i n t h e i r responses f o r a number of t e s t i t ems . In summary t h e r e were c e r t a i n i t e m s w h i c h evoked n e g a t i v e r e a c t i o n s f r o m t h e g i r l s . A d d i t i o n a l l y , t h roughou t the 23 i t e m s t h e r e was a g e n e r a l l a c k of s e l f c o n f i d e n c e d i s p l a y e d on the p a r t of the g i r l s . Many of t he g i r l s e x p r e s s e d u n c e r t a i n t l y or h e s i t a t i o n when responding to i tems e s p e c i a l l y i n the phys i cs and space sc ience a rea . I t cou ld be p l a u s i b l e tha t g i r l s have been c o n d i t i o n e d by a b road s e r i e s of s o c i o l o g i c a l f a c t o r s rang ing from s o c i e t y to peers to f e e l tha t sc ience i s a m a s c u l i n e s u b j e c t and t h e r e f o r e they s h o u l d n ' t be expected to do as w e l l as boys. CHAPTER V CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS The p u r p o s e o f t h i s f i n a l c h a p t e r i s t o p r e s e n t a d i s c u s s i o n o f t h e m a j o r f i n d i n g s f o l l o w e d by c o n c l u s i o n s o f t h e s t u d y . E d u c a t i o n a l i m p l i c a t i o n s a n d r e c o m m e n d a t i o n s f o r f u t u r e r e s e a r c h w i l l c o n c l u d e t h i s c h a p t e r . D i s c u s s i o n o f t h e M a j o r F i n d i n g s T h i s s e c t i o n e x a m i n e s t h e m a j o r f i n d i n g s a s r e p o r t e d i n C h a p t e r IV. T h e s e f i n d i n g s a r e o r g a n i z e d a r o u n d t h e g e n e r a l q u e s t i o n s p r e s e n t e d i n C h a p t e r 1 and t h e y a r e d i s c u s s e d under t h e h e a d i n g s c o r r e s p o n d i n g t o e a c h o f t h e m a j o r r e s e a r c h q u e s t i o n s . The F i r s t R e s e a r c h Q u e s t i o n : Can t h e e v e r y d a y e x p e r i e n c e s o f b o y s and g i r l s be i d e n t i f i e d and c a t e g o r i z e d by t h e e x p l a n a t i o n s p r o v i d e d by s t u d e n t s t o e x p l a i n t h e i r r e s p o n s e s t o a s e t o f w r i t t e n s c i e n c e a c h i e v e m e n t i t e m s ? The o r i g i n a l i n t e n t o f t h i s t h e s i s was t o e x a m i n e w h e t h e r s e x - r e l a t e d d i f f e r e n c e s i n s c i e n c e a c h i e v e m e n t i t e m s c o u l d be a t t r i b u t e d i n p a r t , t o t h e e a r l y l e a r n i n g e x p e r i e n c e s o f b o y s a n d g i r l s . T h e s e e a r l y l e a r n i n g e x p e r i e n c e s w e r e e x p l o r e d t h r o u g h i n t e r v i e w i n g 15 s t u d e n t s on 23 s e l e c t e d t e s t i t e m s and a s k i n g them what 58 t h e y w e r e t h i n k i n g w h e n t h e y c h o s e a n a n s w e r t o a p a r t i c u l a r t e s t i t e m . The e x p l a n a t i o n s g i v e n by t h e s t u d e n t s t o e x p l a i n t h e i r c h o i c e o f a n s w e r s r a n g e d f r o m h o b b i e s a n d a c t i v i t i e s t h a t t h e y p u r s u e d , s o m e t h i n g t h e y had l e a r n e d i n c l a s s , t o n o t r e m e m b e r i n g why t h e y c h o s e a p a r t i c u l a r a n s w e r . A l l o f t h e e x p l a n a t i o n s w e r e g r o u p e d i n t o one o f t h e f i v e c a t e g o r i e s w h i c h w e r e d e v e l o p e d f r o m t h e s t u d e n t s e x p l a n a t i o n s f o r t h e i r c h o i c e o f a n s w e r s . T h e s e f i v e c a t e g o r i e s i n c l u d e d : f o r m a l e x p e r i e n c e , i n f o r m a l e x p e r i e n c e , common s e n s e , g u e s s i n g , and m i s c e l l a n e o u s . T h e s e c a t e g o r i e s p r o v i d e d a s y s t e m a t i c m e a n s o f c a t e g o r i z i n g t h e d a t a a n d w e r e u s e d t o a d d r e s s t h e r e m a i n i n g m a j o r r e s e a r c h q u e s t i o n s o f t h i s s t u d y . The S e c o n d R e s e a r c h Q u e s t i o n : A r e t h e r e s e x - r e l a t e d d i f f e r e n c e s i n t e r m s o f t h e s e e x p l a n a t o r y c a t e g o r i e s ? T h e r e w e r e a n u m b e r o f m a j o r f i n d i n g s r e s u l t i n g f r o m t h i s r e s e a r c h q u e s t i o n . They a r e a s f o l l o w s : a. A g r e a t e r number o f g i r l s e x p l a i n e d t h e i r a n s w e r s t o t e s t i t e m s u s i n g f o r m a l e x p e r i e n c e t h a n d i d b o y s . b. A l t h o u g h a g r e a t e r n u m b e r o f g i r l s u s e d f o r m a l e x p e r i e n c e s a s e x p l a n a t i o n s f o r t h e i r a n s w e r s , t h e P v a l u e s o f g i r l s o v e r t h e 23 i t e m s w a s c o n s i s t e n t l y l o w e r t h a n b o y s , e s p e c i a l l y f o r i t e m s d e a l i n g w i t h e l e c t r i c i t y and c h e m i s t r y . 59 c. A g r e a t e r number o f b o y s e x p l a i n e d t h e i r a n s w e r s t o t h e t e s t i t e m s u s i n g i n f o r m a l e x p e r i e n c e s t h a n d i d g i r l s . d . A g r e a t e r number o f b o y s e x p l a i n e d t h e i r a n s w e r s t o t h e t e s t i t e m s u s i n g common s e n s e t h a n d i d g i r l s . e. T h e r e weren't any m e a s u r a b l e d i f f e r e n c e s i n t h e r e s p o n s e s b e t w e e n b o y s and g i r l s f o r t h e c a t e g o r i e s o f g u e s s i n g and m i s c e l l a n e o u s . T h e s e f i n d i n g s s u g g e s t t h a t t h e d i f f e r e n t e x p e r i e n c e s t h a t b o y s a n d g i r l s h a v e a r e r e f l e c t e d i n t h e i r r e s p o n s e s t o t h e t e s t i t e m s . Boys seemed much more w i l l i n g t o draw upon i n f o r m a l e x p e r i e n c e s t h a n g i r l s , who p r e f e r r e d t o u s e f o r m a l e x p e r i e n c e t o j u s t i f y t h e i r a n s w e r s — w h e t h e r or n o t t h e k n o w l e d g e b e i n g a s s e s s e d by t h e t e s t i t e m was more d i r e c t l y a p p l i c a b l e t o i n f o r m a l e x p e r i e n c e s . M o r e o v e r , e v e n when g i r l s u s e d f o r m a l e x p e r i e n c e s t o j u s t i f y t h e i r a n s w e r s , t h e i r p e r f o r m a n c e was s t i l l s u b s t a n t i a l l y l o w e r t h a n t h e b o y s f o r t h e m a j o r i t y o f t e s t i t e m s . I t has been s u g g e s t e d by J o h n s o n a n d M u r p h y (1984) t h a t b o y s r e i n f o r c e t h e i r p r a c t i c a l e x p e r i e n c e w i t h t h e o r e t i c a l s t u d y much more e f f e c t i v e l y t h a n do g i r l s . I t a p p e a r s t h a t b o y s a s y o u n g a s s e v e n h a v e b e e n f o u n d t o be m o r e i n t e r e s t e d t h a n g i r l s i n r e a d i n g i n f o r m a t i o n b o o k s a n d m a g a z i n e s . F r o m t h e e x p l a n a t i o n s g i v e n by t h e 15 s t u d e n t s t o a c c o u n t f o r t h e i r c h o i c e o f a n s w e r s , i t a p p e a r s t h a t more boys t h a n g i r l s 60 re la ted answers to something they had read about or been involved with at one time or another. I t i s p laus ib le that the informal experiences that many boys bring to the achievement item questions might provide them with a d i s t i n c t advantage over g i r l s when i t comes to se lec t ing a correct response, e spec ia l ly in the areas invo lv ing physics , e l e c t r i c i t y , and laboratory work . Numerous a u t h o r s ( E r i c k s o n and E r i c k s o n , 1984; Johnson and Murphy, 1984; Kahle, 1983; K e l l y , 1981; and L i e and Bryhni , 1983) suggest that boys show greater enthusiasm for i n f o r m a l a c t i v i t i e s d e a l i n g w i t h how t h i n g s work than g i r l s and t h i s s o r t of ' t i n k e r i n g experience' s t rengthens t h e i r s c i e n c e b a c k g r o u n d . Furthermore L i e and B r y h n i (1983) p o s t u l a t e d tha t the type of a c t i v i t i e s and i n t e r e s t s tha t boys and g i r l s have are related to achievement and g i r l s underachieve i n f i e l d s where they have less experience. The f i n d i n g s p r e s e n t e d by the common sense category seem to support Johnson and Murphy (1984) arguments that society ' s ro le expectations for men and women re su l t from early s o c i a l i z a t i o n experiences which a re d i f f e r e n t f o r boys and g i r l s . These e a r l y s o c i o l o g i c a l factors , as discussed i n Chapter II may lead to d i f f e r e n c e s i n exper iences which favour boys and cou ld be r e f l e c t e d i n the responses g iven to the t e s t items. Findings i n the category of guessing suggest that there r e a l l y i s n ' t much di f ference between boys and g i r l s r e s p o n s e s over the 23 i t e m s . 61 The T h i r d R e s e a r c h Q u e s t i o n : I s t h e r e any r e l a t i o n s h i p b e t w e e n s e x - r e l a t e d d i f f e r e n c e s i n t h e s e c a t e g o r i e s and t e s t i t e m c o n t e n t ? T h e m a j o r f i n d i n g s e m e r g i n g f r o m t h i s r e s e a r c h q u e s t i o n a r e as f o l l o w s : a. The i t e m s w h i c h d i s p l a y e d t h e l a r g e s t d i f f e r e n c e s i n r e s p o n s e s b e t w e e n b o y s and g i r l s a p p e a r e d t o be i t e m s w h i c h r e q u i r e d a k n o w l e d g e o f p h y s i c s and c h e m i s t r y l a b o r a t o r y work. In a l l t h e s e i t e m s t h e b o y s had s u b s t a n t i a l l y h i g h e r P v a l u e s t h a n t h e g i r l s . M o r e o v e r , g i r l s r e l i e d much m o r e on f o r m a l e x p e r i e n c e s t h a n b o y s t o j u s t i f y t h e i r a n s w ers t o t h e s e i t e m s . b. The a l t e r e d i t e m s e x h i b i t e d l i t t l e v a r i a t i o n f r o m t h e o r i g i n a l i t e m s i n t e r m s o f s t u d e n t r e s p o n s e s . I n t h e i t e m where a k i t c h e n s e t t i n g was used, g i r l s r e s p o n d e d u s i n g more i n f o r m a l e x p e r i e n c e s t o j u s t i f y t h e i r a n s w e r s . T h e s e f i n d i n g s s u p p o r t c l a i m s made by s u c h a u t h o r s a s E r i c k s o n and E r i c k s o n (1984) who s u g g e s t t h a t b o y s do b e t t e r i n e v e n t s a n d a c t i v i t i e s t h a t a r e d r a w n f r o m t h e i r s p h e r e o f e x p e r i e n c e . I t i s c o n c e i v a b l e t h a t when b o y s a r e r e s p o n d i n g t o i t e m s d e a l i n g w i t h p h y s i c s a n d c h e m i s t r y t h e y i n c o r p o r a t e n o t o n l y f o r m a l b a s e d 62 l e a r n i n g b u t i n f o r m a l e x p e r i e n c e s t h e y h a v e h a d a t o n e t i m e o r a n o t h e r . I t i s s a f e t o a s s u m e f r o m t h e r e s p o n s e s c i t e d by t h e g i r l s , t h a t t h e y l a c k t h e s e i n f o r m a l e x p e r i e n c e s and r e l y i n s t e a d on f o r m a l c l a s s r o o m b a s e d k n o w l e d g e . I n s p i t e o f r e l y i n g more h e a v i l y t h a n b o y s on c l a s s r o o m b a s e d l e a r n i n g , b o y s p e r f o r m a n c e i s s t i l l s u p e r i o r t o g i r l s w h i c h s u g g e s t s t h a t p r i o r e x p e r i e n c e s c o u p l e d w i t h f o r m a l l e a r n i n g p r o v i d e s b o y s w i t h an edge i n t e s t p e r f o r m a n c e . The F o u r t h R e s e a r c h Q u e s t i o n : I s t h e r e any e v i d e n c e t h a t t h e c o n t e x t o f an i t e m i n f l u e n c e s t h e s t u d e n t s a f f e c t i v e r e s p o n s e s t o t h a t i t e m ? The m a j o r f i n d i n g s i n t h i s a r e a w e r e as f o l l o w s : a. T h e r e w e r e a n u m b e r o f t e s t i t e m s i n w h i c h g i r l s e x h i b i t e d i m m e d i a t e n e g a t i v e r e a c t i o n s . T hose i t e m s i n w h i c h t h i s r e s p o n s e was most p r o n o u n c e d d e a l t w i t h e l e c t r c i t y and t h e o p e r a t i o n o f a b u n s e n b u r n e r . b. T h e r e was o n l y one boy who e x p r e s s e d a g e n e r a l i z e d n e g a t i v e r e s p o n s e t o w a r d s a t e s t i t e m . T h i s i t e m d e a l t w i t h s p a c e s c i e n c e . c. M a n y g i r l s e x p r e s s s e d u n c e r t a i n t y i n t h e i r r e s p o n s e s . T h i s g e n e r a l l a c k o f c o n f i d e n c e was n o t 63 l i m i t e d t o one t i m e b u t a p p e a r e d t o be f a i r l y p e r v a s i v e t h r o u g h o u t t h e 23 i t e m s . T h e s e f i n d i n g s s u g g e s t t h a t g i r l s t e n d t o r e s p o n d n e g a t i v e l y t o s u b j e c t a r e a s where t h e y e i t h e r l a c k t h e i n t e r e s t or t h e e x p e r i e n c e i n c o m p a r i s o n t o b o y s . T h i s i s s u p p o r t e d by t h e f i n d i n g s r e p o r t e d by K a h l e , M a t y a s , a n d C h o s (1985) w h i c h r e v e a l e d t h a t b o y s h a v e m o r e p o s i t i v e s c i e n c e a t t i t u d e s t h a n g i r l s f o r s c i e n c e a c t i v i t i e s i n v o l v i n g t h e m o r e t e c h n i c a l a s p e c t s o f s c i e n c e . I n a d d i t i o n , b o y s p a r t i c i p a t e d i n a g r e a t e r number o f e x t r a c u r r i c u l a r s c i e n c e a c t i v i t i e s t h a n g i r l s . F u r t h e r m o r e , L i e a n d B r y h n i (1983) a n d K e l l y (1981) e m p h a s i z e t h a t g i r l s a r e m o r e i n t e r e s t e d i n t h e h u m a n i s t i c a s p e c t o f s c i e n c e , t h e human body, t h e home, and s o c i e t y w h e r e a s b o y s a r e p a r t i c u l a r l y i n t e r e s t e d i n t h e t e c h n i c a l a s p e c t s o f s c i e n c e . T h e t o n e o f u n c e r t a i n t y w h i c h i s f a i r l y c o n s i s t e n t t h r o u g h o u t t h e 23 i t e m s i l l u s t r a t e s t h a t g i r l s a r e n ' t a s c o m f o r t a b l e w i t h s c i e n c e as b o y s and p e r h a p s v i e w i t as a m a l e d o m a i n . T y p i c a l r e s p o n s e s w e r e o f t e n p e r m e a t e d w i t h words s u c h a s : • I t h i n k " , " I'm n o t r e a l l y s u r e but A c c o r d i n g t o a s t u d y c o m p l e t e d by K e l l y , W h i t e , and S m a i l (1983) b o y s h a v e c e r t a i n s t e r e o t y p i c v i e w s o f g i r l s i n s c i e n c e . B o y s t e n d e d t o v i e w g i r l s t h a t d i d s c i e n c e a c t i v i t i e s as w e i r d and p e c u l i a r , and a t an age 64 where g i r l s have a g r o w i n g i n t e r e s t i n boys they d o n ' t want to appear d i f f e r e n t or s t range. I t i s p o s s i b l e t ha t the g i r l s genera l tone of unce r ta i n t y over the 23 i tems i s a r e s u l t of no t w a n t i n g t o appear too k n o w l e d g e a b l e i n sc i ence or perhaps f e e l i n g , through the t r ansm i t t ance of boys a t t i t u d e s , t ha t sc ience i s a male domain. CONCLUSION The o v e r a r c h i n g i n t e n t o f t h i s t h e s i s was t o a d d r e s s the f o l l o w i n g g e n e r a l q u e s t i o n : Can the s e x -r e l a t e d d i f f e r e n c e s , w h i c h have been o b s e r v e d i n s e l e c t e d s c i e n c e a c h i e v e m e n t i t e m s , be a t t r i b u t e d i n pa r t to d i f f e r e n c e s i n the everyday exper iences of males and f e m a l e s ? Based on the r e s u l t s of t h i s s tudy the conc lus i ons are as f o l l o w s : a . P r i o r exper iences from non-schoo l a c t i v i t i e s (as e x e m p l i f i e d by the c a t e g o r i e s of i n f o rma l l e a r n i n g and common sense) appear to c o n t r i b u t e to some of the s e x - r e l a t e d d i f f e r e n c e s observed i n the 23 t e s t i t ems . Boys used these non-schoo l based l e a r n i n g exper iences to e x p l a i n t h e i r answers to a much l a r g e r ex tent than g i r l s , who based the ma jo r i t y of t h e i r answers on formal based l e a r n i n g . Boys o v e r a l l performance over the 23 i tems was c o n s i s t e n t l y h igher than g i r l s which might i n d i c a t e t ha t t h i s super io r performance i s l i n k e d to the a b i l i t y to draw upon a wide range of i n fo rma l 65 e x p e r i e n c e s . b. Formal schoo l based exper iences (as e x e m p l i f i e d by the category of formal exper ience) d i d n ' t appear to be p a r t i c u l a r l y h e l p f u l i n c o n t r i b u t i n g to the o v e r a l l performance of g i r l s over the 23 i t ems . Al though a s u b s t a n t i a l number of g i r l s used fo rma l schoo l based exper iences to respond to t e s t i t ems , t h e i r performance was s t i l l lower than boys. M o r e o v e r , the t ype of f o r m a l r e s p o n s e s c i t e d were vague and s imply eluded to some course or something the t e a c h e r had d i s c u s s e d i n c l a s s . T h i s sugges t s t h a t i n f o r m a l e x p e r i e n c e s , as e x e m p l i f i e d by the boys responses, may be s t rong c o n t r i b u t o r s to boys supe r i o r performance on the 23 t e s t i tems. Perhaps i n f o r m a l e x p e r i e n c e s l e a d t o the deve lopmen t of s k i l l s and knowledge r e l e v a n t t o s c i e n c e and i n t u r n , r e i n f o r c e and s t rengthen the formal l e a r n i n g s i t u a t i o n . c . P r i o r exper iences from non-schoo l a c t i v i t i e s might c o n t r i b u t e to a f e e l i n g of conf idence and p o s i t i v e n e s s when responding to a number of t e s t i t ems . Throughout the 23 t e s t i tems there was a genera l tone of unce r ta i n t y among the g i r l s when responding to i tems which was not present among the boys. Boys seemed more con f i den t and p o s i t i v e when e x p l a i n i n g how they de r i ved an answer. Perhaps because g i r l s l a c k the in fo rma l 66 e x p e r i e n c e s w h i c h a p p e a r t o be i m p o r t a n t f o r t h e d e v e l o p m e n t o f b a s i c s c i e n c e s k i l l s , t h e y f e e l i n a d e q u a t e o r u n s u r e o f t h e m s e l v e s , w h i c h i n t u r n , i s r e f l e c t e d i n t h e t y p e s o f r e s p o n s e s g i v e n i n t h e t e s t i t e m s . IMPLICATIONS B a s e d on t h e t y p e s o f r e s p o n s e s g i v e n by t h e g i r l s i n t h i s s t u d y i t a p p e a r s t h a t many o f t h e m do n o t h a v e t h e same e x t e n t o r r a n g e o f e x p e r i e n c e w i t h e v e r y - d a y phenomna w h i c h i l l u s t r a t e some o f t h e b a s i c c o n c e p t s i n t h e p h y s i c a l s c i e n c e . A d d i t i o n a l l y many o f t h e g i r l s a r e l a c k i n g i n c o n f i d e n c e when t h e y e x p l a i n t h e i r a n s w e r s t o t h e 23 i t e m s . C o u p l e d w i t h t h i s l a c k o f c o n f i d e n c e some o f t h e g i r l s d i s p l a y e d an i m m e d i a t e n e g a t i v e r e a c t i o n t o s u c h i t e m s a s t h e f u n c t i o n a a c i r c u i t b r e a k e r a n d t h e o p e r a t i o n o f a b u n s e n b u r n e r . To i n c r e a s e g i r l s c o n f i d e n c e a n d u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f t h e s e a r e a s m e n t i o n e d a b o v e t h e f o l l o w i n g s t r a t e g i e s a r e recommended. 1. When t e a c h i n g a u n i t i n t h e p h y s i c a l s c i e n c e s , t e a c h e r s s h o u l d a s s u m e t h a t g i r l s w i l l n o t h a v e t h e same b a c k g r o u n d k n o w l e d g e a s b o y s a n d may h a v e n e g a t i v e r e a c t i o n s t o w a r d s t h e s e s u b j e c t s . T e a c h e r s s h o u l d p l a n i n t r o d u c t o r y a c t i v i t i e s w h i c h e m p h a s i z e s t h e h u m a n i s t i c a s p e c t s o f s c i e n c e and u s e e x a m p l e s w h i c h c o u l d be d r a w n f r o m a f e m a l e s s p h e r e o f e x p e r i e n c e . F o r e x a m p l e , one way t o i n t e r e s t b o t h 67 g i r l s a n d b o y s i n t h e p r i n c i p l e s o f l e v e r s i n p h y s i c s w o u l d be t o a p p r o a c h i t u s i n g t h e human body, t h u s e m p h a s i z i n g t h e r e l e v a n c e t o o u r s e l v e s . 2. F r o m t h e f i n d i n g s o f t h i s s t u d y i t a p p e a r s t h a t g i r l s p l a y a p a s s i v e r o l e i n p h y s i c s and c h e m i s t r y l a b o r a t o r y w o r k . I n s t r u c t o r s i n a l a b o r a t o r y s e t t i n g s h o u l d a t t e m p t t o i n v o l v e a l l s t u d e n t s i n "hands o n " w o r k . I f n e c e s s a r y , t h i s m i g h t i n v o l v e p a i r i n g g i r l s w i t h g i r l s s o t h e y w o n ' t f e e l a s i n t i m i d a t e d a s i n a m i x e d g r o u p s i t u a t i o n . 3. G i r l s s h o u l d be e n c o u r a g e d t o p a r t i c i p a t e i n s c i e n c e r e l a t e d a c t i v i t i e s . T h i s m i g h t i n c l u d e a c t i v i t i e s e m p h a s i z i n g t h e h u m a n i s t i c a s p e c t s o f s c i e n c e s u c h a s f i e l d t r i p s t o v a r i o u s i n s t i t u t i o n s i n c l u d i n g h o s p i t a l s , a n d r e s e a r c h s t a t i o n s . A d d i t i o n a l l y , t e a c h e r s s h o u l d a t t e m p t t o e x a m i n e s u c h t r a d i t i o n a l p h y s i c a l s c i e n c e t o p i c s a s e l e c t r i c i t y , m e c h a n i c s , and c h e m i s t r y and d i s c u s s t h e i r a p p l i c a t i o n s t o s o c i e t a l i s s u e s . A s t u d y i n e l e c t r i c i t y , m e c h a n i c s , and c h e m i s t r y m i g h t e x a m i n e how a k i d n e y d i a l y s i s m a c h i n e w o r k s t h u s s t r e s s i n g t h e s o c i a l a s p e c t s o f t e c h n o l o g y . An e f f o r t h a s b e e n made by t h e new j u n i o r s e c o n d a r y s c i e n c e c u r r i c u l u m i n B.C. t o a t l e a s t i n c o r p o r a t e some s o c i e t a l i s s u e s . The u n i t on n u c l e a r power s t u d i e s n o t o n l y i n c l u d e s t h e p h y s i c s o f n u c l e a r e n e r g y b u t a l s o t h e s o c i e t a l i m p l i c a t i o n s i n v o l v e d i n u s i n g 68 n u c l e a r energy. 4 . S t a r t i n g a t t h e e l e m e n t a r y l e v e l , g i r l s s h o u l d be encouraged to pursue s c i e n c e a c t i v i t i e s f o r fun. T h i s w ould i n v o l v e e n c o u r a g i n g g i r l s t o e x p e r i m e n t and ex p l o r e v a r i o u s m a t e r i a l s which could h e l p g i r l s g a i n some i n t u i t i v e understanding of the b a s i c concepts of s c i e n c e . For example, p l a y i n g w i t h v a r i o u s b u i l d i n g m a t e r i a l s or p u t t i n g together a model might l e a d t o the development of s p a t i a l s k i l l s . RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FUTURE RESEARCH On the b a s i s of t h e r e s e a r c h c o n d u c t e d i n t h i s study i t i s apparent t h a t a d d i t i o n a l r e s e a r c h i n t o boys and g i r l s everyday and school experiences are warranted. The f o l l o w i n g are recommendations f o r f u r t h e r r e s e a r c h : a. Develop s c i e n c e c u r r i c u l u m m a t e r i a l s t h a t emphasis the humanistic context of s c i e n c e . These m a t e r i a l s should be developed e s p e c i a l l y i n the p h y s i c a l s c i e n c e areas where g i r l s may see t h i s area as being too t e c h n i c a l . Any m a t e r i a l t h a t attempts t o e x p l o r e the i n t e r a c t i o n s between technology and s o c i e t a l i s s u e s would be extremely b e n e f i c i a l . b. A refinement of the major a n a l y t i c a l c a t e g o r i e s used i n t h i s study. T h i s would i n v o l v e t r y i n g t o d i s t i n g u i s h s i t u a t i o n s w h e r e t h e r e f e r e n c e t o e a r l i e r experiences was indeed warranted and u s e f u l 69 t o t h e s t u d e n t a n d t h o s e s i t u a t i o n s w h e r e t h e y w e r e s i m p l y ' i n v e n t i n g ' o r j u s t m a k i n g a p a s s i n g r e f e r e n c e t o some v a g u e e x p e r i e n c e f r o m t h e p a s t ( e g ; "Oh, I t h i n k I remember d o i n g s o m e t h i n g l i k e t h a t i n G r a d e 10). W h i l e t h e s e 'weak* a s s o c i a t i o n s do r e v e a l s o m e t h i n g o f how s t u d e n t s t r y t o make s e n s e o f p r o b l e m s i t u a t i o n s , h o w e v e r , t h e y c l e a r l y a r e n o t o f much a s s i s t a n c e t o them i n s o r t i n g o u t an a p p r o p r i a t e r e s p o n s e a s we s e e f r o m t h e g i r l s p o o r e r p e r f o r m a n c e on many o f t h e i t e m s . I f one w e r e t o make t h i s d i s t i n c t i o n , t h e n i t m i g h t be p o s s i b l e t o do a more d e t a i l e d a n a l y s i s o f t h e way i n w h i c h e x p e r i e n c e c a n be t r a n s l a t e d i n t o a b e t t e r u n d e r -s t a n d i n g o f s c i e n c e c o n c e p t s . c . D e v e l o p more i n d e p t h s t u d i e s t o u n d e r s t a n d how some o f t h e e x p e r i e n c e s c i t e d by s t u d e n t s r e l a t e t o s c h o o l s c i e n c e . How d o e s t h e a b i l i t y t o c h a n g e a t i r e o r r e a d a compass r e l a t e t o a s t u d e n t ' s a b i l i t y i n s c i e n c e ? T h i s c o u l d be c o n d u c t e d t h r o u g h c a s e s t u d i e s i n v o l v i n g one o r two s t u d e n t s w h e r e i n d e p t h i n t e r v i e w s a r e i n i t i a t e d . 7 0 APPENDIX A 71 SCIENCE QUESTIONS AND BACKGROUND INFORMATION What i s your date o f b i r t h ? Y e a r : 1962 o r e a r l i e r , 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 o r l a t e r Sex : Male Female What language d i d you use when you f i r s t l ea rned t o speak? E n g l i s h Another language What language do you now speak most o f t e n a t home? E n g l i s h Another language Check ALL o f the f o l l o w i n g which you have s u c c e s s f u l l y comple ted. Sc ience 8 Sc ience 9 Sc ience 10 B i o l o g y 11 B i o l o g y 12 Chemist ry 11 Chemist ry 12 P h y s i c s 11 P h y s i c s 12 E a r t h Sc ience 11 Geology 12 ' Other sc i ence Check ALL s c i e n c e courses you are t a k i n g now. Not t a k i n g any now Sc ience 8 Sc ience 9 Sc ience 10 72 B i o l o g y 11 B i o l o g y 12 Chemist ry 11 Chemist ry 12 P h y s i c s 11 P h y s i c s 12 E a r t h Sc ience 11 E a r t h Sc ience 12 Geology 12 Other sc i ence 7 . At t h i s t i m e , what do you p l a n to do immediate ly a f t e r l e a v i n g secondary schoo l? A t tend a bus iness schoo l A t tend v o c a t i o n a l , a r t , o r t rade t r a i n i n g schoo l A t tend a t e c h n i c a l i n s t i t u t e A t tend community c o l l e g e : u n i v e r s i t y t r a n s f e r program At tend community c o l l e g e : c a r e e r program o the r p lans undecided 73 SCIENCE QUESTIONS INSTRUCTIONS The q u e s t i o n s i n t h i s h a n d o u t have a s i n g l e b e s t a n s w e r . A number o f c h o i c e s i s a v a i l a b l e f o r e a c h q u e s t i o n , i n c l u d i n g " I d o n ' t know." A f t e r r e a d i n g a l l t h e p o s s i b l e a n s w e r s , make an x on t h e l i n e n e x t t o t h e one b e s t answer t o e a c h q u e s t i o n . I f y o u have no i d e a o f t h e c o r r e c t a nswer, make an x on t h e l i n e n e x t t o " I d o n ' t know." EXAMPLE: How many d a y s a r e t h e r e i n December? 28 29 30 31 I d o n ' t know The answer s h o u l d be 31. 74 Use t h e f o l l o w i n g g r a p h when a n s w e r i n g q u e s t i o n s 1 and 2 m/ km/ sec hr Distance needed to stop 8 . 9 32 M I 6.7 m 5.5 m 1 3 . 4 48 10.1 m 13.4m KEY C3 R e a c t i o n d i s t a n c e : d i s t a n c e t r a v e l l e d b e t w e e n s e e i n g d a n g e r a n d a p p l y i n g b r a k e s . B r a k i n g d i s t a n c e : t h e d i s t a n c e a c a r n e e d s t o s t o p . 1 7 . 9 64 !3.4nv 25.6 ftt 2 2 . 3 80 16.8m 41.2 m 2 6 . 8 97 20.1m 60. Om 1. Which o f t h e f o l l o w i n g c o n c l u s i o n s i s most j u s t i f i e d ? The h i g h e r o n e ' s s p e e d , t h e l o n g e r i t t a k e s t o r e a c t _ As one d o u b l e s t h e s p e e d , t h e t o t a l d i s t a n c e n e c e s s a r y f o r s t o p p i n g becomes t w i c e a s g r e a t _ F o r t h e s p e e d s g i v e n , t h e g r e a t e r t h e s p e e d -t h e g r e a t e r t h e r e a c t i o n d i s t a n c e _ The b r a k i n g d i s t a n c e i s a l w a y s g r e a t e r t h a n t h e d i s t a n c e t r a v e l l e d i n r e a c t i n g t o t h e d a n g e r s i g n a l _ I d o n ' t know _ 2. From t h e c h a r t y o u c o u l d c o n c l u d e t h a t t h e r e a c t i o n t i m e o f t h e a v e r a g e d r i v e r i s l e s s t h a n one s e c o n d _ one s e c o n d _ a l i t t l e more t h a n one s e c o n d _ much more t h a n one s e c o n d _ I d o n ' t know I f t h e e a r t h ' s a x i s were t o be t i p p e d a t an a n g l e o f 10 i n s t e a d o f 2 3 ° w h i c h o f t h e f o l l o w i n g w o u l d be t r u e ? The y e a r w o u l d be l o n g e r t h a n a t p r e s e n t T h e r e w o u l d be o n l y h a l f a s many h o u r s o f d a y l i g h t i n a y e a r a s a t p r e s e n t We w o u l d be a b l e t o s e e b o t h s i d e s o f t h e moon The moon w o u l d a p p e a r t o be m o t i o n l e s s r a t h e r t h a n a p p e a r i n g t o move i n t h e s k y None o f t h e above w o u l d be t r u e I d o n ' t know S c i e n t i s t s a r e s k e p t i c a l t h a t e a r t h h a s b e e n v i s i t e d by b e i n g s f r o m o u t s i d e t h e s o l a r s y s t e m b e c a u s e t h e r e i s no l i f e anywhere i n t h e u n i v e r s e e x c e p t on e a r t h t h e d i s t a n c e s b etween s t a r s a r e enormous o n l y c r a c k p o t s b e l i e v e i n s u c h n o n s e n s e few p l a c e s o u t s i d e t h e s o l a r s y s t e m c a n s u p p o r t l i f e I d o n ' t know T h i n k o f d i v i n g i n t o t h e o c e a n n e a r t h e e q u a t o r . As y o u go d e e p e r , t h e w a t e r g e t s c o l d e r b e c a u s e t h e s a l t i e s t w a t e r i s a l w a y s c o l d e s t and s i n k s t o t h e b o t t o m warm w a t e r i s l i g h t e r t h a n c o l d and s t a y s on t o p t h e d e e p e r w a t e r i s n o t i n c o n t a c t w i t h t h e a i r I d o n ' t know Which o f t h e s e c o n c e p t s c a n be u s e d t o e x p l a i n why a d r i v e r who i s w e a r i n g a s e a t b e l t may be t h r o w n t h r o u g h t h e w i n d s h i e l d i f h i s c a r s t o p s s u d d e n l y ? B u o y a n c y F r i c t i o n P o t e n t i a l e n e r g y I n e r t i a M e c h a n i c a l a d v a n t a g e I d o n ' t know 76 7. You are go ing to l i g h t a bunsen bu rne r . What shou ld you do j u s t be fo re you t u r n on the gas? Guess a t the p o s i t i o n a t which the a i r c o n t r o l shou ld be open f o r proper burn ing C lose the a i r c o n t r o l comple te ly Leave the a i r c o n t r o l as you found i t , s i n c e i t p robab ly i s i n the c o r r e c t p o s i t i o n Open the a i r c o n t r o l comp le te ly I d o n ' t know 8 . When d i l u t i n g an a c i d , which i s the c o r r e c t procedure? Add water t o a c i d Add a c i d to water Add water t o o n e - h a l f o f the a c i d and then add the remainder o f the a c i d Pour a c i d and water toge the r i n t o an empty beaker I d o n ' t know 9. Green p l a n t s are impor tant to an imals because the p l a n t s consume both food and oxygen consume food and g i v e o f f oxygen consume, food and g i ve o f f carbon d i o x i d e produce food and g i v e o f f oxygen produce food and g i v e o f f carbon d i o x i d e I d o n ' t know 10. Atmospher ic carbon d i o x i d e i s b e l i e v e d t o be i n c r e a s i n g due t o i nc reased carbon d i o x i d e f i x a t i o n by green p l a n t s i n c r e a s e d r e l e a s e from vo lcanoes i nc reased burn ing o f f o s s i l f u e l s c u t t i n g down o f too many t r e e s I d o n ' t know 11 . S a l t may be added to a s o l u t i o n u n t i l i t w i l l f l o a t an egg . Th is statement i s based on the assumpt ion t h a t a l l eggs have equa l weight equal volume equa l d e n s i t y about the same shape I d o n ' t know 77 12. A poem e n t i t l e d "The A n c i e n t M a r i n e r " c o n t a i n s t h e l i n e s : The s u n now r o s e upon t h e r i g h t Out o f t h e s e a came he, S t i l l h i d i n m i s t , and on t h e l e f t Went down i n t o t h e s e a . I n w h i c h d i r e c t i o n was t h e A n c i e n t M a r i n e r s a i l i n g ? n o r t h s o u t h e a s t w e s t I d o n ' t know 13. The p u r p o s e o f a f u s e o r c i r c u i t b r e a k e r i s t o t u r n t h e l i g h t s on and o f f p r o t e c t c i r c u i t s f r o m c a r r y i n g t o o much e l e c t r i c i t y p r o t e c t s p e o p l e f r o m g e t t i n g e l e c t r i c s h o c k s s a v e s e l e c t r i c i t y f r o m b e i n g w a s t e d r e g u l a t e t h e number o f v o l t s i n t h e c i r c u i t I d o n ' t know 14. What i s t h e m a i n p r o b l e m a s s o c i a t e d w i t h t h e d i s p o s a l o f w a s t e p r o d u c t s f r o m a n u c l e a r r e a c t o r ? Some o f t h e p r o d u c t s r e m a i n r a d i o a c t i v e f o r t h o u s a n d s o f y e a r s a r e l i k e l y t o e x p l o d e a t any t i m e c a n d e s t r o y t h e o z o n e l a y e r g i v e o f f d a n g e r o u s l e v e l s o f m i c r o w a v e s I d o n ' t know 15. Look a t t h e f i g u r e b e l o w MH.K cOMM||,v T h i s f i g u r e d e m o n s t r a t e s t h a t t h e d e e p e r t h e l i q u i d , t h e g r e a t e r t h e l i q u i d p r e s s u r e l i q u i d moves a t d i f f e r e n t s p e e d s a i r p r e s s u r e c a u s e s t h e l i q u i d t o s h o o t o u t t h e d e e p e r t h e l i q u i d , t h e g r e a t e r t h e a i r p r e s s u r e I d o n ' t know 16. Look a t t h e d i a g r a m b e l o w The s u n w o u l d be l o c a t e d a t p o s i t i o n A B C D I d o n ' t know 17.Which o f t h e f o l l o w i n g s u b s t a n c e s must be k e p t away f r o m s p a r k s o r o p e n f l a m e s ? H y d r o c h l o r i c and s u l f u r i c a c i d Sodium h y d r o x i d e and p o t a s s i u m h y d r o x i d e A l c o h o l and e t h e r T i n and l e a d I d o n ' t know 79 18. I n w h i c h o f t h e f o l l o w i n g ways d o e s a sample o f steam d i f f e r f r o m a sample o f i c e ? The m o l e c u l e s o f steam move more s l o w l y a r e s m a l l e r c o n t a i n l e s s e n e r g y a r e c l o s e r t o g e t h e r a r e f a r t h e r a p a r t I d o n ' t know 19. I n t h e d i a g r a m s b e l o w , X, Y, and Z r e p r e s e n t t h r e e lamps i n a c i r c u i t , w h i c h a l s o i n c l u d e s a b a t t e r y and a s w i t c h S. x y * x y z x y z ® k ® ® ® ® ® ® @ k ® B y z x y z D E 80 A s t u d e n t i s b o i l i n g w a t e r i n a s t o p p e r e d g l a s s j a r o r f l a s k a s shown. What p r e c a u t i o n w o u l d y o u t a k e i f y o u saw t h i s ? I m m e d i a t e l y t u r n o f f t h e g a s t o t h e b u r n e r Make s u r e t h e s t o p p e r i s i n t i g h t l y s o t h e s t e a m c a n n o t e s c a p e Make s u r e t h e g a s l i n e d o e s n o t become d i s c o n n e c t e d Keep t h e b u r n e r t u r n e d down t o low h e a t I d o n ' t know 81 When the sw i t ch i s open, X f a i l s to l i g h t w h i l e Y and Z do l i g h t . Which one o f the f o l l o w i n g c i r c u i t s i s i t ? A B C D E I d o n ' t know 20. Use the graph below when answer ing ques t i ons 20 and 21 Concentrated acid P e r c e n t o f s eeds g e r m i n a t i n g 12 24 Time ( i n h o u r s ) Which ONE t reatment of seeds seems to be MOST e f f e c t i v e f o r s t a r t i n g germina t ion i n a maximum number o f seeds ( i . e ; f o r b reak ing dormancy)? Concent ra ted a c i d B a l l m i l l ab ras i on Thresh ing machine ab ras ion S u l f u r i c a c i d I d o n ' t know 21 . I f the t reatment were g i ven f o r on l y s i x hou rs , which ONE would be MOST e f f e c t i v e f o r s t a r t i n g germina t ion i n maximum number o f seeds ( i . e ; f o r b reak ing dormancy)? Concent ra ted a c i d B a l l m i l l ab ras i on Thresh ing machine ab ras i on S u l f u r i c a c i d I d o n ' t know 82 I n t h e d i a g r a m s b e l o w , b o t t l e s 1 and 2 a r e e x a c t l y a l i k e HOWEVER, THEY MAY BE AT DIFFERENT TEMPERATURES. B o t t l e 1 c o n t a i n s a s u b s t a n c e w h i c h i s t r a n s f e r r e d t o b o t t l e 2 w i t h o u t any l o s s . BEFORE AFTER Which one o f t h e f o l l o w i n g i s t h e b e s t e x p l a n a t i o n o f what y o u s e e i n t h e d i a g r a m s ? I n b o t t l e 1, t h e s u b s t a n c e i s a g a s and i n b o t t l e 2 t h e s u b s t a n c e i s a l i q u i d I n b o t t l e 1, t h e s u b s t a n c e i s a l i q u i d and i n b o t t l e 2 t h e s u b s t a n c e i s a g a s I n b o t t l e 1, t h e s u b s t a n c e i s a s o l i d a n d i n b o t t l e 2 t h e s u b s t a n c e i s a l i q u i d I n b o t t l e 1, t h e s u b s t a n c e h a s l e s s mass t h a n i n b o t t l e 2 I d o n ' t know ALTERED VERSIONS OF ITEMS 20 and 21 83 20. Use the graph below when answering q u e s t i o n s 20 and 21 C o n c e n t r a t e d a c i d - ' P e r c e n t o f s e e d s g e r m i n a t i n g T ime ( i n h o u r s ) Which ONE treatment o f seeds seems t o be MOST e f f e c t i v e f o r s t a r t i n g g ermination i n a maximum number o f seeds ( i . e ; f o r b r e a k i n g dormancy)? Concentrated a c i d B a l l m i l l a b r a s i o n High moisture c o n d i t i o n High temperature c o n d i t i o n I don't know 21. I f treatment were g i v e n f o r o n l y s i x hours, which ONE would be MOST e f f e c t i v e f o r s t a r t i n g g ermination i n a maximum number of seeds ( i . e ; f o r bre a k i n g dormancy)? Concentrated a c i d B a l l m i l l a b r a s i o n High moisture c o n d i t i o n High temperature c o n d i t i o n I don't know 84 ALTERED VERSION OF ITEM 22 22. A c o o k i s b o i l i n g w a t e r i n a c a s s e r o l e d i s h w i t h a t i g h t f i t t i n g l i d , a s shown. What p r e c a u t i o n w o u l d y o u t a k e i f y o u saw t h i s ? I m m e d i a t e l y t u r n o f f t h e g a s t o t h e s t o v e Make s u r e t h e l i d f i t s t i g h t l y s o t h e ste a m c a n n o t e s c a p e Make s u r e t h e r e i s g a s g e t t i n g t o t h e s t o v e Keep t h e s t o v e t u r n e d down t o low h e a t I d o n ' t know 85 ALTERED VERSION OF ITEM 23 23. I n t h e d i a g r a m b e l o w , s a u c e p a n 1 and 2 a r e e x a c t l y a l i k e . HOWEVER THEY MAY BE AT DIFFERENT TEMPERATURES. S a u c e p a n 1 c o n t a i n s a s u b s t a n c e w h i c h i s t r a n s f e r r e d t o s a u c e p a n 2 w i t h o u t any l o s s . i x i X &EFOR£ A F T E R Which one o f t h e f o l l o w i n g i s t h e b e s t e x p l a n a t i o n o f what y o u c a n s e e i n t h e d i a g r a m ? I n s a u c e p a n 1, t h e s u b s t a n c e i s a g a s , and i n s a u c e p a n 2 t h e s u b s t a n c e i s a l i q u i d I n s a u c e p a n 1, t h e s u b s t a n c e i s a l i q u i d and i n s a u c e p a n 2, t h e s u b s t a n c e i s a g a s In s a u c e p a n 1, t h e s u b s t a n c e i s a s o l i d , and i n s a u c e p a n 2 t h e s u b s t a n c e i s a l i q u i d I n s a u c e p a n 1, t h e s u b s t a n c e has l e s s mass t h a n i n s a u c e p a n 2 I d o n ' t know 86 APPENDIX B 87 TRANSCRIPT SUBJECT: MELANIE GRADE 12 AGE: 17 FEMALE I - INTERVIEWER S- SUBJECT IN PARENTHESES, BESIDES EACH SUBJECT'S EXCERPT, IS THE CATEGORY ASSIGNED FOR EACH ITEM. I : T e l l me w h a t y o u w e r e t h i n k i n g when y o u c h o s e t h e answer y o u d i d f o r q u e s t i o n 1? S: I c h o s e No. 3 b e c a u s e I've d o n e s o m e t h i n g l i k e t h i s b e f o r e . Somebody has e x p l a i n e d t o me t h a t i f y o u go a t a h i g h e r s p e e d i t t a k e s a l o n g e r d i s t a n c e t o s t o p . So t h a t was o t h e r k n o w l e d g e b e s i d e s b a s i c s c i e n c e knowledge. I : What was t h i s o t h e r k n o w l e d g e ? S: Oh.. I t was t h r o u g h d r i v e r s s c h o o l . T h a t h e l p e d me a l o t ( i n f o r m a l e x p e r i e n c e ) . I : Q u e s t i o n 2? S: Umm.. I c h o s e No. 1. T h a t was more o r l e s s t h e same r e a s o n s a s Q u e s t i o n 1. T h e y s h o w e d a f i l m o n r e a c t i o n t i m e . I l o o k e d a t t h e g r a p h a b i t a n d t r i e d t o f i g u r e i t o u t a l s o ( f o r m a l e x p e r i e n c e ) . I : Now f o r q u e s t i o n 3. Take y o u r t i m e . 88 S: O k a y . F o r t h i s o n e I d i d n ' t r e a l l y know w h a t i t w a s . I h a v e n ' t h a d m u c h b a c k g r o u n d o n e a r t h r o t a t i o n ( m i s c e l l a n e o u s ) . I : What a b o u t o t h e r b a c k g r o u n d ? S: The o n l y g e o g r a p h y I h a d w a s i n G r a d e 10 w h i c h w a s s t u d y i n g s e m i s m o g r a p h s , e a r t h q u a k e s e t c . T h a t ' s i t . I : Q u e s t i o n 4? S: O k a y . F o r t h a t o n e I c h o s e N o . l b e c a u s e i t s a t h e o r y y o u know. T h a t t h e r e i s no l i f e a n y w h e r e on e a r t h . I : How d i d y o u f i n d t h i s i n f o r m a t i o n o u t ? S: T h r o u g h TV, t h e m e d i a , a n d t h e m o v i e s . Some m o v i e s t h i n k t h e r e a r e c r e a t u r e s o u t t h e r e . To me t h e r e i s n o t e n o u g h p r o o f ( i n f o r m a l e x p e r i e n c e ) . I : Q u e s t i o n 5? S: T h i s o n e I d i d n ' t r e a l l y k n o w . F o r No. 1 I w a s t h i n k i n g w h e n i t s f r o s t y o u t s i d e y o u t h r o w s a l t o n t h e r o a d s o t h e i c e m e l t s . I w a s t h i n k i n g a b o u t t h a t b e c a u s e o f o u r p a s t e x p e r i e n c e o f a c o u p l e o f w e e ks. I d i d n ' t know a b o u t t h e o t h e r a n s w e r s (common s e n s e ) . I : M o v i n g on t o q u e s t i o n 6 S: O k a y . The a n s w e r I c h o s e was i n t e r i a . I l e a r n t t h i s 89 t h r o u g h d r i v i n g and s e a t b e l t c o m m e r c i a l s ( i n f o r m a l e x p e r i e n c e ) . I : Q u e s t i o n 7? S: Okay. When I was i n g r a d e 9 I h a d a b a d e x p e r i e n c e w i t h a b u n s e n b u r n e r . I d o n ' t know w h e t h e r my a n s w e r i s r i g h t o r n o t . When I l i t t h e b u n s e n b u r n e r i t k i n d o f s h o c k e d me. My s c i e n c e t e a c h e r g a v e me a s h e e t a n d s a i d t h a t y o u s h o u l d r e a d i t a n d s t u d y i t a n d know w h e r e t h e a i r c o n t r o l s h o u l d b e . W e l l , I'm n e v e r g o i n g t o l i g h t a n o t h e r b u n s e n b u r n e r , I'm g o i n g t o g e t s o m e o n e e l s e t o do i t s o I n e v e r r e a d i t . S o w h a t I p u t f o r my a n s w e r was No. 4 b e c a u s e a i r a l l o w s a f l a m e t o b u r n . I d i d n ' t w a n t t o p u t I d o n ' t know b e c a u s e I k i n d o f h a d a b i t o f k n o w l e d g e a b o u t i t ( f o r m a l e x p e r i e n c e ) . I : Why d i d n ' t y o u want t o l i g h t a bunsen b u r n e r a g a i n ? S: P a s t e x p e r i e n c e I q u e s s . I t s c a r e d me a b i t . I : Q u e s t i o n No. 8? S: T h i s one I c h o s e a d d i n g t h e a c i d t o w a t e r . I t o o k c h e m i s t r y l a s t y e a r a n d we s o r t o f p u t one s o l u t i o n i n t o a n o t h e r . T o me No. 1 a n d No. 2 a r e i n t e r c h a n g e a b l e . No. 3 i s g e t t i n g r e a l l y t e c h n i c a l . I d o n ' t h a v e t h a t b a c k g r o u n d k n o w l e d g e ( f o r m a l e x p e r i e n c e ) . 90 I : Q u e s t i o n No. 9? S: W e l l I know t h a t g r e e n p l a n t s g i v e o f f o x y g e n a n d th e y do p r o d u c e f o o d f o r human c o n s u m p t i o n . I : How do y o u know t h a t t h e y p r o d u c e f o o d ? S: W e l l , w h a t I p e r c e i v e d f r o m t h i s q u e s t i o n i s t h a t g r e e n p l a n t s t h e m s e l v e s a r e f o o d t o u s , s o t h a t s how I i n t e r p r e t a t e d f o o d . B a s i c k n o w l e d g e (Common s e n s e ) . I : Now m o v i n g on t o q u e s t i o n 10. S: I c h o s e No. 3 b e c a u s e I l i s t e n on t h e news a n d t h e y h a v e a l o t o f i n f o r m a t i o n on t h e f a c t t h a t t h e r e s s o much C02 i n t h e a i r b e c a u s e o f f o s s i l f u e l s b u r n i n g , t o o many c a r s on t h e r o a d , a n d t o o much c o n g e s t i o n . D u r i n g t h e O l y m p i c s t h e r e was t o o much t r a f f i c . A l l t h e c a r b o n m o n o x i d e w o u l d be b a d f o r t h e r u n n e r s p l u s t h e h e a t e t c ( i n f o r m a l e x p e r i e n c e ) I : Q u e s t i o n No. 11? S: I c h o s e No. 4. I w a s n ' t s u r e a b o u t t h i s o n e , b u t I p u t down a n a n s w e r a n y w a y . Okay, I know t h a t , I b e l i e v e t h a t d e n s i t y h a s s o m e t h i n g t o do w i t h w a t e r . I d i d a n e x p e r i m e n t o n i t . M e r c u r y h a s a h i g h e r d e n s i t y and w a t e r h a s a s o s o d e n s i t y . T h a t ' s how I i n t e r p r e t a t e d my answer ( f o r m a l e x p e r i e n c e ) . I: Q u e s t i o n 12? 91 S: F o r t h i s one I t h o u g h t t h a t t h e sun s e t s i n t h e w e s t and r i s e s i n t h e e a s t . I g u e s s t h e way I p e r c e i v e d i t i s my b e d r o o m f a c e s s o u t h . I was p i c t u r i n g m y s e l f l o o k i n g a t t h e g l o b e . How w o u l d t h e sun l o o k ? (common s e n s e ) . I : Q u e s t i o n 13? S: F o r q u e s t i o n 13 I c h o s e No. 2 b e c a u s e o f my p a s t e x p e r i e n c e i n p h y s i c s . We t a l k e d a b o u t c i r c u i t b r e a k e r s a b i t a n d t o me a b r e a k e r i s t o p r e v e n t o v e r l o a d i n g o f an o u t l e t s o I c h o s e No. 2 ( f o r m a l e x p e r i e n c e ) . I : Have y o u d o n e a n y t h i n g e l s e w i t h c i r c u i t b r e a k e r s b e s i d e s p h y s i c s ? S: W e l l , t h a t ' s p r e t t y m u c h i t . I d o n ' t t a k e e l e c t r o n i c s or a n y t h i n g l i k e t h a t . I: Okay. M o v i n g on t o q u e s t i o n No. 14 S: T h i s one I d i d n ' t r e a l l y know. A l l o f t h e m s e e m e d l i k e g o o d a n s w e r s t o me. I c h o s e No. 4 b e c a u s e i n t h e news y o u h e a r t h e s e t h i n g s s o I j u s t c h o s e t h i s one ( i n f o r m a l e x p e r i e n c e ) . I : Q u e s t i o n No. 15? S: T h i s one was a b i t c o n f u s i n g . I was g e t t i n g t o t h e end so I was g e t t i n g r e s t l e s s . I c h o s e No. 1 b e c a u s e 92 I p e r c e i v e d t h e a n s w e r t o be t h a t . When y o u go down i n t o w a t e r t h e r e ' s more p r e s s u r e on you. I : How do y o u know t h a t ? S: I t a k e swimming l e s s o n s t h a t ' s why. My e a r s k i n d o f go 'wonko' when I go t o a d e e p e r d e p t h ( i n f o r m a l e x p e r i e n c e ) . I: Q u e s t i o n 16? S: I w a s n ' t q u i t e s u r e a b o u t t h i s o n e. I t h o u g h t ( p o i n t i n g t o d i a g r a m ) i f i t was a n e c l i p s e i t w o u l d c o v e r t h e moon. I w a s t r y i n g t o u s e s o m e o f t h e b a s i c k n o w l e d g e I had (common s e n s e ) . I : M o v i n g on t o q u e s t i o n 17? S: Okay. W i t h t h i s one I w a s n ' t r e a l l y s u r e . I knew t h a t No. 4 w a s n ' t t h e a n s w e r . The f i r s t t h r e e I h a d t o t h i n k a b o u t . HCL a n d s u l f u r i c a c i d a r e n o t f l a m m a b l e b e c a u s e I r e m e m b e r d o i n g s o m e t h i n g i n c h e m i s t r y c l a s s . T h e n t h e r e ' s a l c o h o l . A l c o h o l i s f l a m m a b l e . So I c h o s e t h a t one ( f o r m a l e x p e r i e n c e ) . I: What ab o u t e t h e r ? S: I w a s n ' t s u r e a b o u t t h a t b e c a u s e I d i d n ' t pay much a t t e n t i o n t o t h e e n d o f t h e y e a r i n c h e m i s t r y . We d i d t a l k a b o u t e t h e r . I h a v e come a c r o s s t h e w o r d b u t I haven't p a i d much a t t e n t i o n t o t h a t word. I: Q u e s t i o n 18? S: Okay. What I t h o u g h t a b o u t t h i s i s t h a t s t e a m m o v e s 93 a b o u t i n t h e r o o m . Y o u c a n t e l l w h e n y o u p u t a k e t t l e on t h e s t o v e and y o u c l o s e t h e d o o r ( l i k e i n a k i t c h e n ) a n d t h e w i n d o w s f o g up. When I t h i n k o f i c e I t h i n k o f t h e s e a f o r m i n g a r o u n d t h e i c e . I t do e s n ' t move a r o u n d much ( i n f o r m a l e x p e r i e n c e ) . I : Q u e s t i o n 19? S: More p h y s i c s s t u f f ! I c h o s e No. 4 b e c a u s e t h e c i r c u i t w o u l d s t a y l i t b e c a u s e o f t h e c i r c u i t i n v o l v e d i n t h e d i a g r a m . P h y s i c s i n f o r m a t i o n ( f o r m a l e x p e r i e n c e ) . I : Q u e s t i o n 20? S: I w a s n ' t s u r e a b o u t t h e w o r d d o r m a n c y s o w h a t I t h o u g h t d o r m a n c y was when i t r e a c h e s a l e v e l a n d t h e n e v e n s o u t o r t h e n c h a n g e s s p e e d . So t h e a n s w e r I c h o s e was No. 2. I t i n c r e a s e s p r e t t y n o r m a l l y ( f r o m t h e g r a p h ) s o t h a t ' s how I g o t my a n s w e r ( f o r m a l e x p e r i e n c e ) . I : Q u e s t i o n 21? S: T h i s i s r e l a t e d t o 20 i n a way by t h e g r a p h . B e c a u s e ( t h e r e s t h a t w o r d a g a i n d o r m a n c y ) o f t h i s ( p o i n t i n g t o a l i n e on t h e g r a p h ) I c h o s e my a n s w e r w h i c h was b a l l m i l l a b r a s i o n ( f o r m a l e x p e r i e n c e ) . I : Do y o u know w h a t b a l l m i l l a b r a s i o n i s ? I : No i d e a l 94 I : M o v i n g on t o q u e s t i o n No.22 S: T h i s one was a b i t c o n f u s i n g . I h a v e n ' t r e a l l y d o n e a n y t h i n g i n e x p e r i m e n t s where I had t o use a s t o p p e r . I : R e a l l y ? N o t h i n g a t a l l w i t h a s t o p p e r ? S: W e l l , I've done i t , b u t n o t w i t h w a t e r . I: W i t h o t h e r t h i n g s ? S: Yeah.. A c i d s e t c . S: I c h o s e No. 2 . I w a s n ' t r e a l l y s u r e . I f i t s r e a l l y t i g h t a n d p r e s s u r e g r o w s i t w i l l e x p l o d e . I d i d n ' t w a n t t o p u t down I d o n ' t know b e c a u s e I s o r t o f knew t h e a nswer ( f o r m a l e x p e r i e n c e ) . I : Q u e s t i o n 23 S: I was k i n d o f c o n f u s e d a b o u t b o t t l e one and b o t t l e t w o . I t h o u g h t t h i s one ( p o i n t i n g t o d i a g r a m ) was b o t t l e one and b o t t l e two so I c h o s e No. 2 I: Have y o u done a n y t h i n g l i k e t h i s b e f o r e ? S: No, b u t t h r o u g h r e a d i n g a n d common k n o w l e d g e I d e r i v e d my answer (common s e n s e ) . I : Okay M e l a n i e we have f i n i s h e d . Thank y o u v e r y much. 95 BIBLIOGRAPHY A g u i r r e , J . (1978). C h i l d r e n ' s B e l i e f s About Forces i n  E q u i l i b r i u m . 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