Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Master of Education

Program

Education

Supervisor

Dr. Allan Pitman

Abstract

This thesis examines some of the factors that impact upon secondary school girls and the subsequent decisions that they make, whether to continue their study of science, once it becomes an elective area of study. Specifically, the girls were asked about their previous experiences in science classes, their perceptions and beliefs about science teachers, and the girls’ attainment or lack of success in science and perceptions about self-efficacy.

For the first component all female students in their grade twelve year were asked to fill out a questionnaire, to determine general perceptions about science learning, based on opinions and personal experiences in school. On the basis of their questionnaire responses, indicating either a strong favourable or unfavourable experience in or attitude to, learning and doing science, 8 of the 39 girls that completed the survey were then chosen to be interviewed.

Using various statistical treatments several themes emerged: Interest, Importance, Self-Efficacy were found to be statistically significant upon the girls’ decisions; while the themes Gender, Teacher, and Difficulty were not. Possible suggestions on how to positively affect these factors, so that they would better encourage, engage and support girls in their learning and doing of science, were discussed. Implications of the findings were also used to determine possible future areas of research, to ensure that ongoing progress is made so that girls have the opportunity to learn and participate in science in ways that engage them, are meaningful to them and their lives, and that allow them to be successful.

Keywords: Science Education, Girls Education, Girls and Science Self-Efficacy, Girls and Science Education


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