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Abstract

These studies examined attitude toward teaching science (ATTS) using an adaptation of the Bratt Attitude Test (M-BAT); anxiety about teaching science (ANX-TS), as measured by the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI A-State); and selected demographic variables in preservice elementary teachers for the 1977–1978 and 1978–1979 academic years and a follow-up of those students who completed their student teaching in May 1979. The M-BAT and STAI were administered in September at the beginning of Science 6 (earth science and biology course), in December on the next to last day of Science 6, in May on the next to the last day of Science 5 (physical science), and in May 1979 after student teaching. In the two academic years, both ATTS and ANX-TS became more positive during the sequence Science 6-5. Both changes in ATTS and ANX-TS continued to change in a positive direction after completion of Science 6-5, after student teaching. There were differences in the times that the greatest changes in ATTS and ANX-TS occurred. In both studies, the greatest change in ATTS took place between September and December, during Science 6. The greatest change in ANX-TS, however, took place during Science 5 between December and May in the 1977–1978 study. In the 1978–1979 study, the greatest changes in ANX-TS occurred in Science 6, between September and December. The delayed reduction of ANX-TS in the 1977–1978 study may be explained by differences in teaching patterns. In 1977–1978, two teachers taught only their academic specialty, biology or earth science, to students who switched teachers midsemester. In 1978–1979, the same two instructors taught both biology and earth science to the same students. Correlation coefficients for successive and corresponding administrations of both the M-BAT and STAI suggest these variables are related. Students with more positive ATTS tended to have reduced ANX-TS. Neither the number of high school or college science and math courses completed nor the level of enjoyment of these courses appears to be related to ATTS or ANX-TS for the initial administration of the M-BAT and STAI. Closer examination of data, however, indicates that students with negative ATTS and high ANX-TS were fairly evenly divided in their enjoyment of mathematics, while students with positive ATTS and low ANX-TS enjoyed math in a 3:1 like/dislike ratio. The relationship between both ATTS and ANX-TS and achievement is reasonalbly consistent for Science 6. In Science 5, however, the relationship between ATTS and achievement is inconsistent and there is no indication of a relationship between achievement and ANX-TS.