Date of Award

8-1991

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Science Education, Mallinson Institute

First Advisor

Dr. Robert H. Poel

Second Advisor

Dr. George G. Mallinson

Third Advisor

Dr. James Sanders

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Jon R. Thompson

Abstract

The growth of specialized schools that emphasize science and mathematics has raised questions about their efficacy in improving performance in various parameters in mathematics and science. In this study, four different components were compared. A science and mathematics experiences questionnaire determined the type and extent of student experiences in science and mathematics during high school, and student interest in science and mathematics careers. The American College Testing Program (ACT) (ACT Registration) sub-scores assessed scholastic achievement, while the determination of student attitudes towards science used the Scientific Attitude Inventory (SAI) (Moore & Sutman, 1970).

Subjects in the study consisted of three groups of talented students from eleven high schools in the Kalamazoo, Michigan area. One group of students was from a special pull-out program conducted at the Kalamazoo Area Mathematics and Science Center (KAMSC). Subjects in the second group initially attended KAMSC but left the program prior to completion. The third group of subjects was students who declined the invitation to attend KAMSC.

Results of the study indicated that students who attended the KAMSC special program throughout their high school took more science courses, attended significantly more field trips, and scored higher in the mathematics sub-section on the ACT test. Furthermore, the career interest survey indicated that significantly more students who attended KAMSC selected all three career choices in mathematics and science. However, a comparison of the three groups detected no significant differences for the number of hours students reported studying and doing homework per week, and the number of hours of laboratory activity per week. Similarly, analyses of both the ACT science sub-section scores and the attitudes towards science scores did not produce significant differences for the three groups.

In conclusion, one must recognize the main limitation of this study, namely, that this specific research examined one program and one class of students in one area in the Midwest. Given this and other limitations, it is defensible to conclude that pullout programs in science and mathematics like those at KAMSC can provide a variety and breadth of experiences and challenges which lead to continued interest in pursuing careers related to science and mathematics.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

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