The Relationships Between Gender, Mindset, and Science Inquiry in Middle School Science

Date
2022
Authors
Hooper, Jennifer D.
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Abstract

My dissertation is a pre-mid-post-test, quantitative research design, including surveys and written assessments, to answer these research questions:1. How do students' science mindset vary over time when engaged in science inquiry activities? Is there a difference between male and female students?2. Is there a relationship between 7th grade students' performance on science inquiry activities and their science mindset? Is there a difference between males and females? The scatter plots generated from the survey data for question #1 display a pronounced shift for all students, moving an average of one point towards a growth mindset and 49% of females had a positive change from a fixed to a growth mindset. For question number #2 I did not find a linear correlation between a student's science mindset and their written assessment, despite showing a large movement of student's mindset towards growth after a second science inquiry intervention. A female's science identity weakens if elements such as self-efficacy, interest, and willingness to challenge themselves are missing. As students become more familiar with scientific inquiry, there is a deeper understanding of the science content by communicating within their group and engaging in a hands-on lab activity. In pursuit of a more in-depth understanding, a student's self-efficacy and identity in science increase as well as a growth mindset (Devers, 2015). My research shows that the use of scientific inquiry as a teaching method directly impacts a female's science growth mindset and may reduce the gender gap in science achievement.

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The author has granted permission for their work to be available to the general public.
Keywords
Gender Gap in Science Achievement, Mindset, Science Inquiry
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Department
Interdisciplinary Learning and Teaching