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A study of the long term impact of an inquiry-based science program on student's attitudes towards science and interest in science careers
One reason science enrichment programs were created was to address the underrepresentation of women and minorities in science. These programs were designed to increase underrepresented groups' interest in science and science careers. One attempt to increase students' interest in science was the Summer Science Exploration Program (SSEP). The SSEP was a two week, inquiry-based summer science camp offered by Hampshire College for students entering grades seven and eight. Students who participated were from three neighboring school districts in Western Massachusetts. The goal of the program was to stimulate greater interest in science and scientific careers among middle school students, in particular among females and students of color. A review of the literature of inquiry-based science programs revealed that the effect of inquiry-based programs on students' attitudes towards science is typically investigated shortly after the end of the treatment period. The findings from this study contribute to our understanding of the long-term impact of inquiry-based science enrichment programs on students' attitude towards science and their interest in science careers. The data collected consisted of quantitative survey data as well as qualitative data through case studies of selected participants from the sample population. This study was guided by the following questions: (1) What was the nature and extent of the impact of the Summer Science Exploration Program (SSEP) on students' attitudes towards science and interest in science careers, in particular among females and students of color? (2) What factors, if any, other than participation in SSEP impacted students' attitude towards science and interest in scientific careers? (3) In what other ways, if any, did the participants benefit from the program? Conclusions drawn from the data indicate that SSEP helped participants maintain a high level of interest in science. In contrast, students who applied but were not accepted showed a decrease in their attitude towards science and their interest in science careers over time, compared to the participants. The interviews suggested that students enjoyed the inquiry-based approach that was used at camp. In addition, students said they found the hands-on inquiry-based approach used at camp more interesting than traditional methods of instruction (lectures and note taking) used at school. Recommendations for future research are presented.
Science education|Curricula|Teaching|Secondary education
Gibson, Helen Lussier, "A study of the long term impact of an inquiry-based science program on student's attitudes towards science and interest in science careers" (1998). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI9823739.