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Abstract

Science career preferences of junior high school-aged students, while not stable predictors of ultimate career choice, do serve to direct and maintain individuals along the paths to careers in science. In this study, factors relevant to science career preferences of black eighth grade students were investigated. This issue is of particular import to blacks since they are severely underrepresented in the scientific fields. The sample consisted of 113 males and 148 females in an inner city junior high school. The Science Career Preference Scale, the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test, and the Self-Concept of Ability Scale (Form B-Science) were administered. Mathematics and science grades were obtained from class rating sheets. Treatment of the data involved multiple regression analysis according to a hierarchical model. Results showed that of all the independent variables, sex was the strongest predictor of science career preferences, accounting for 25% of the criterion variance. The findings suggest that early adolescent science career preferences are related more to interests that are consonant with sex-role considerations than realistic assessment of mathematics or science achievement.