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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Attitudes to science as they relate to gender, participation, and achievement Lapointe, Vanessa R.

Abstract

The current study was designed to; a) determine the magnitude of existing gender differences in attitudes to science; b) determine the impact of gender on intent to study science at the upper-level in high school, and in post-secondary pursuits; c) evaluate the relationship between attitude to science and achievement in science; d) determine the impact of attitude to science on intent to study science at the upper-level in high school, and in post-secondary pursuits; e) explore and describe those factors which may influence attitude to science development; and, f) explore and describe those factors which may influence student decisions regarding further pursuit of science-based study. Results from the 1995 British Columbia Assessment of Mathematics and Science were analyzed and interviews were conducted. Results indicated that, although significant, gender differences in attitudes to science were very small and likely not meaningful. Results also showed that there was a significant difference between genders regarding intent to pursue further studies of science in both high school and post-secondary study. In addition, a weak relationship between attitudes and achievement was observed, and a positive relationship between attitude and intent to participate in upper-level high school biology, chemistry and physics courses, and in post-secondary science was also observed. Exploration of the potential influences that direct attitude to science development and decisions regarding further study of science included parental expectations, teacher instruction, peer influence, enjoyment, interest, perceived relevance, perception of self-ability, and applicability to chosen career path. Implications for prevention and intervention efforts, and future research directions are discussed.

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