Year: 2000

Author: LUPART, J

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

A research project is underway at the University of Calgary to investigate the personal and educational factors that contribute to junior and senior high school participation and high achievement in the sciences for both males and females. In addition, the study will identify the factors that most directly contribute to decisions on the part of males and particularly females to pursue programs and careers in science and related disciplines, and will explore roots of differences and similarities for males and females in early decisions about adult life-role and career choices.

The first phase of the project is utilizing an adapted version of the Eccles Michigan Study of Life Transitions Questionnaire (MSALTQ), which is based on a theoretical model that has been developed and validated in the mathematics area. The adapted questionnaire includes questions relating to science and computers to investigate the sources that contribute to the dynamic interaction of achievement-related decisions and participation in science activities and careers. Using this approach, the key sociological and psychological influences on students' choices for particular activities, courses and careers in the sciences can be determined. In the first phase of the study, an initial sample of approximately 1,000 Grade 7 and 1,000 Grade 10 students have been identified and are being administered the adapted questionnaire. This paper is based on data already collected on approximately 600 of the initial sample of Grade 7 students.

A first analysis of the results will be presented and will focus on questions about computers, questions about the students' futures and their career choices, as well as questions about perceptions of adult roles in society. The results will discuss the similarities and differences between the males and females in the Grade 7 student sample.