Factors Contributing to Students Pursuit of Advanced Science

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Title: Factors Contributing to Students Pursuit of Advanced Science
Author: Meldrum, Jenette Kathleen
Advisors: Maria T. Oliver-Hoyo, Committee Member
John C. Park, Committee Member
Leonard Annetta, Committee Chair
Abstract: During the middle-school years student interest in science begins to decline. In this study students in grades 6 through 9 were surveyed to determine what factor(s) (peers, family, science class, teachers, and/or informal experiences) contribute to students pursuing advanced science. This study focusses on what factor(s) influence minority students to pursue advanced science courses and pursue science careers. It is well known that the minority population is increasing, however the number of minorities with careers in science is not reflective of that increase. The majority of Latino students (50%) surveyed in this study indicated that they were currently interested to very interested in science, compared to only 40% African-American students, and only 36% of Caucasian students. Upon further analysis by ANOVA and independent samples t-test significance was found for three of the factors or subscales between the three ethnicities surveyed. Family Encouragement, Science Classroom Experience, and Informal Learning Experiences, were the three subscales that showed significance. Therefore the role of parents in discussing science with their children, the science classroom environment, and opportunities for informal science learning can not be disregarded. Further research should focus on the exact role that these three factors play in encouraging middle grade students to pursue advanced science. In addition, studies with university science majors and current scientists may be able to shed more light on how extrinisic factors, such as family, science class, and informal learning experiences influence students toward pursuing advanced science.
Date: 2007-02-22
Degree: MEd
Discipline: Math, Science and Technology Education
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.16/2552

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