Award Date

12-1-2012

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Curriculum & Instruction

First Committee Member

Kent J. Crippen

Second Committee Member

Randall Boone

Third Committee Member

MaryKay Orgill

Fourth Committee Member

Kyle Higgins

Number of Pages

211

Abstract

This study used the Relevance of Science Education (ROSE) survey (Sjoberg & Schreiner, 2004) to examine topics of interest and perspectives of secondary science students in a large school district in the southwestern U.S. A situated learning perspective was used to frame the project. The research questions of this study focused on (a) perceptions students have about themselves and their science classroom and how these beliefs may influence their participation in the community of practice of science; (b) consideration of how a future science classroom where the curriculum is framed by the Next Generation Science Standards might foster students' beliefs and perceptions about science education and their legitimate peripheral participation in the community of practice of science; and (c) reflecting on their school science interests and perspectives, what can be inferred about students' identities as future scientists or STEM field professionals? Data were collected from 515 second year science students during a 4-week period in May of 2012 using a Web-based survey. Data were disaggregated by gender and ethnicity and analyzed descriptively and by statistical comparison between groups. Findings for Research Question 1 indicated that boys and girls showed statistically significant differences in scientific topics of interest. There were no statistical differences between ethnic groups although. For Research Question 2, it was determined that participants reported an increase in their interest when they deemed the context of the content to be personally relevant. Results for Research Question 3 showed that participants do not see themselves as youthful scientists or as becoming scientists. While participants value the importance of science in their lives and think all students should take science, they do not aspire to careers in science. Based on this study, a need for potential future work has been identified in three areas: (a) exploration of the perspectives and interests of non-mainstream students and urban students whose representation in this study was limited; (b) investigation of topics where students expressed low interests topics; and (c) development and design of authentic communities of practice in the science classroom.

Keywords

High school students; Interest (Psychology); Interests; Motivation in education; Perspectives; ROSE; Science – Study and teaching (Secondary); Science students

Disciplines

Curriculum and Instruction | Education | Science and Mathematics Education

Language

English


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