The portrayal of minorities and women in selected elementary science series

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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine the quantitative and qualitative portrayal of females and minorities in the illustrations of seven contemporary elementary science textbook series. An evaluation instrument was devised to determine the current status of the targeted groups. Illustrations were evaluated on the basis of minority/nonminority and male/female repesentation. The activity and assumed role of the individuals were also tabulated. More than 5900 human illustrations were evaluated. The results reveal that female children as a group are represented with greater frequency than are other child groups. Minority children are represented less often than nonminority children and female and minority adults are depicted less often than nonminority male adults. The textbooks evaluated in this study display science positively for most societal groups. However, minorities are underrepresented and illustrated in a limited number of career roles. Implications and suggestions for teachers, supervisors, and teacher educators are provided.

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