The myth of equality in science classrooms



An analysis of the 1976-1977 NAEP survey of science attitudes showed that, by age nine, females, although expressing similar or greater desires to participate in science activities, had consistently fewer experiences in science than boys of the same age. Science activities surveyed included use of common experimental materials and instruments, observation of scientific phenomena, and field trips. At ages 13 and 17, girls again reported fewer classroom and extracurricular science activities than boys. Their responses indicated narrow perceptions of science and of the usefulness of scientific research. In addition, they displayed generally negative attitudes toward science classes and careers. Suggestions to eliminate the inequalities found are offered.