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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Sex-related differences in attitudes toward computers at the grade 4 level Klassen, Wendy


The purpose of this study was to determine whether there were sex-related differences in students' attitudes toward computers at the Grade 4 level. A questionnaire was constructed, consisting of twenty-five multiple choice items, two subjective items and eight background items. The multiple choice items were grouped into six reporting categories: (1) Interest in and Enjoyment in Using Computers, (2) Anxiety and Confidence About Computer Use, (3) Perceived Usefulness of Computers, (4) Perceived Sex Roles in Attitudes Toward Computers, (5) Relationship Between Mathematics and Computers, and (6) Attitudes Toward Mathematics. The questionnaire was administered to a sample of 290 students. The sample consisted of 143 girls and 147 boys. The data were analysed to determine any sex differences in responses to each of the items in each of the reporting categories. Attitudes toward individual items and reporting categories were defined to be positive if 50% or more of the students/girls/boys responded to the item/category in a manner established by the author as positive. To identify significantly different responses, median polish was used on the item-by-gender tables. Results of the median polish revealed items that had been reacted to, by all students, in a more strongly positive or negative manner in comparison to the other items within the category. In addition, sex differences in responses to each of the items and the reporting categories were indicated and any patterns related to either items or gender were revealed. In addition to the analysis of individual items and reporting categories, results from the 25 items for girls were compared based on whether or not their mothers use computers and also for all students based on whether or not they had computers at home. The results of the questionnaire indicate that there were no sex differences in responses to five of the six reporting categories. Girls and boys at this age would seem to have comparable positive attitudes toward computers with regard to "Interest in and Enjoyment in Using Computers", "Anxiety and Confidence About Computer Use", "Perceived Usefulness of Computers" and "Relationship Between Mathematics and Computers", and "Attitudes Toward Mathematics". There were significant sex-related differences in one category, "Perceived Sex Roles in Attiudes Toward Computers". It was found that while both girls and boys have a positive attitude in this category, 22% more girls than boys displayed this positive attitude. However, in view of the difficulty of interpreting these results, one cannot provide a strong argument for concluding that one gender has a stronger positive (less sexist) attitude than the other. Girls and boys at this age feel it is just as important for either sex to use and learn about computers.

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