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Student attitudes towards Science and Mathematics

Principal investigators

Steven Earle, Rachel Cooper, Malaspina University-College

Research Assistants

Carrie Marshall, Megan Foss, Malaspina University-College


The objective of this project is to assess the attitudes of recent high-school graduates towards Science and Math. We intend to determine why some students have negative attitudes towards Science and Math, at what point in their schooling, and for what reasons these negative attitudes were developed. Similarly, we intend to determine why some students have positive attitudes towards Science and Math. The information will be used to identify areas where the primary and secondary educational systems could be changed so as to promote more positive attitudes towards Math and Science.

While there are numerous published reports on student attitudes towards Science and Math (eg. Speering & Rennie, 1996, Neathery, 1997) we feel that it is important to acquire up-to-date and locally-relevant information that will be of value to the other participants within this research consortium and elsewhere in Canada. Unlike other similar studies, this research will be focused on University students who have already made a choice about their field of study.


We will use both quantitative and qualitative methods to determine the attitudes of students to Science and Math, and how those attitudes might have been formed and changed at various times during their lives. The qualitative methods will include interviews and focus groups. The quantitative part of the study will be based on a survey form that includes both open-ended and closed questions, although the emphasis will be on closed Likert-scale questions. Parts of the survey will be based on the Fennema-Sherman Mathematics attitude survey (Fennema & Sherman, 1976).



NODE 1 Authentic Science Opportunities for Youth


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