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Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering
SJR: 0.468 SNIP: 0.671 CiteScore™: 1.65

ISSN Print: 1072-8325
ISSN Online: 1940-431X

Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering

DOI: 10.1615/JWomenMinorScienEng.v4.i4.20
pages 333-340

STUDENT PERCEPTIONS OF INSTRUCTION, PEER INTEREST, AND ADULT SUPPORT FOR MIDDLE SCHOOL SCIENCE: DIFFERENCES BY RACE AND GENDER

William J. Boone
Miami University, Oxford, OH
Jane Butler Kahle
School of Education and Allied Professions, Miami University, Oxford, OH

ABSTRACT

Educational equity within science classrooms is a critical issue for America in the 1990s and beyond. In fact, race and gender considerations are watershed issues that must be confronted by all developed and developing countries in the twenty-first century. This paper presents a unique data set that was collected to monitor a portion of a statewide systemic initiative (SSI) for the reform of mathematics and science. Students were asked to describe what their teachers did in science, what they themselves did in their classes, how their friends viewed science, and how adults in their homes supported their science education. Items represented strategies and activities recommended by the National Science Education Standards (National Research Council, 1996). All responses were analyzed by student race and by gender in order to assess how different groups of students perceived their science classes, if different groups of students had more positive or negative attitudes and/or interest in science, and how adult support for science learning varied across four student groups (i.e., girls, boys, African Americans and whites). Results indicated that different types of teaching and learning activities occurred in classes taught by teachers who had participated in the SSI's professional development, compared with those who had not yet participated. Further, responses of both African-American and white students indicated that all students actively participated in science classes that were taught by SSI teachers. The findings suggest ways to modify the teaching of middle school science to meet the needs and interests of students who have historically been underrepresented in science.


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