Virginia Association of Science Teachers

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  • JVSE Vol. 13, No. 2

In This Issue

From the Editors:  Amanda Gonczi and Jennifer Maeng

  • Science Competitions Promote Science Literacy  Benjamin K. Campbell, Ph.D., Dale L. Beach, Ph.D., Kathy DeBusk Gee, Ph.D., Andrew Yeagley, Ph.D., Sarah E. G. Porter, Ph.D., & Susan Booth, Ed.S.  
Abstract: Science competitions provide opportunities for students to pursue a topic that interests them, gain experience conducting research, and present their findings as clearly and effectively as possible. Participating in science competitions also fosters students’ science literacy, or the ability to produce and consume scientific knowledge in ways that are relevant and beneficial to their everyday lives. We describe the three principal fair-like competitions held annually in Virginia.
  • College and Career Readiness: Middle School Students Opting for STEM Careers  Adrienne R. Britton, Ph.D. & Denise D. Charbonnet, Ph.D.
Abstract: This quantitative research study used a cross-sectional survey research design to examine 7th grade students’ attitudes toward STEM, science, and math and whether differences existed in these attitudes across gender, course enrollment, and whether a parent had a STEM career. Of the 1,830 seventh-grade middle school students surveyed with the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation (2012) Middle/High School S-STEM Survey, 1,359 participated (74.3% response rate). Results of independent samples t-tests indicated that 7 th grade students’ attitudes toward STEM, math, and science, did not differ based on gender. Students’ attitudes toward STEM and science did not differ based on course enrollment. However, students enrolled in honors life science classes had significantly more positive attitudes toward math, though the effect size was small (Cohen’s d = .005). Finally, for 7th grade students, attitudes toward STEM did not differ between students who have a parent in a STEM career compared to those without a parent in a STEM career.

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