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Draw a Scientist: Middle School and High School Students’

Conceptions about Scientists

Judith Nuńo

USC Rossier School of Education

CTSE 509: Advanced Science Teaching Methods

March 26, 1998

 

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Introduction


     The first image that comes to mind when I think about a scientist is that of Charles Darwin with his long, flowing beard, followed by that of Albert Einstein with his wild, white hair, and then that of Dr. Frankenstein, surrounded by bubbling test tubes and potions. Then I think of the gentle face of Sister Dolores, my high school biology teacher, followed by that of Dr. Barbara DeWolfe, white-crowned sparrow expert and my mentor in graduate school. Then I think of the powerful, for me, female images of Lynn Margulis, Dian Fossey, Eugenie Clark and Jane Goodall. I have avidly read Darwin’s papers and writings and many, if not all, of his biographies and I gained my sense of what science is from him...careful, meticulous, tedious at times observations, careful checking of connections and facts, constant questioning, and essentially reclusive behavior, interspersed with sick spells, while being coddled by an attentive spouse...the epitome of a scientist. Einstein has the appearance, Frankenstein the accouterments, but Sister the Dolores the patience to explain. I have few memories of my undergraduate science professors from UCLA, even though they were renowned in their field, had received Nobel Prizes and other scientific acclaim, and did instruct me in the intricacies of organic nomenclature and synthesis and the physiology of the neuron. But they seemed surrounded by papers, data, and sophisticated, even then, equipment that distanced the scientist from the natural world. Dr. DeWolfe taught me how to look at birds in their natural habitat, how to make observations and measurements with simple equipment, how to use my senses to detect nature’s patterns. And I avidly read the books and articles of Lynn Margulis, who indeed needed sophisticated equipment to analyze the intricacies of intracellular structure that formed the background for her symbiotic theory of evolution, and those of the gorilla and chimpanzee experts Dian Fossey and Jane Goodall, who demonstrated to me extreme patience and perseverance. And of course I admired the courage of Eugenie Clark in studying sharks. But interesting to me is that my initial image of the scientist is male, with facial hair, with a lab coat and surrounded by glassware and potions. But the scientists that have deeply inspired me are, except for Darwin, female, don’t wear glasses in their photographs at least, and work outdoors in comfortable, normal clothing or in wet suits! I could now list here an extremely long list of different types of scientists with the equipment and type of clothing they would probably wear while engaged in their science, and I would probably be outdated in terms of some of the equipment and completely wrong about some of the clothing, because these are external signs and really say nothing about the cognitive and affective nature of a scientist. I have known scientists and I have done science, so I have a personal concept of what scientists do and what science is. And it is highly personal, enjoyable, tedious, frustrating, enlightening, confusing. If confusing to me, the science teacher, how must it appear to my students?

This personal digression forms the background to a study of middle school and high school students’ images of scientists. I was interested in finding out how the image of a scientist might differ between male and female students and among students with different levels and types of science courses. As a high school science teacher, I am interested in how my students perceive science, scientists and the possibility of a career in science. Besides, asking students to draw a picture of a scientist (the Draw-a-Scientist-Test--DAST) seemed a good way to start the second semester. I was astounded by the variety and richness of the images I received from the students, even before I began a structured analysis of the drawings. Because of this richness and also because I have recently started a dialogue with a middle school teacher from our major feeder school, I asked her to obtain scientist drawings from her students. And all the drawings sat in my office while I figured out a way to analyze them. Only after a structured analysis did I perceive some problems with the DAST in determining students’ conceptions about scientists. So I then conducted personal interviews with male and female students who have completed several high school science courses. It was after compiling the information from these interviews that I reflected on my personal image of scientists and science and realized how much of a difference there could be between image and actual conception.

The DAST was originally developed by Chambers (1983) as an open-ended projective test to detect children’s perceptions of scientists. Chambers used seven standard image indicators to evaluated the scientists images. The test has been expanded, standardized and revised by others (Mason, Kahle and Gardner, 1991; Symington and Spurling, 1990; Finsen and Beaver, 1994) to include 11 standard images, alternative images and interview questions and to investigate science teachers’ images and beliefs about scientists and science teachers (Thomas, 1998). Several studies have indicated the emergence of a stereotypical image of scientists as early as the fifth grade (Chambers, 1983; Schibeci and Sorensen, 1983) and increasing sophistication and complexity in images with increasing grade level (She, 1995). The DAST has been used by classroom teachers to assess children’s images of scientists and to initiate discussion (Barman, 1996; Huber, 1995) and to evaluate the effectiveness of instructional programs in changing students’ attitudes toward science (Flick, 1990; Mason et al, 1991; Matkins, 1996), and to identify factors associated with the participation of females and minorities in the science classroom (New York STS Education Project, nd). And it has been used in international studies: Children from western industrialized countries tend to draw "a bush-haired man wearing a lab coat, surrounded by test tubes, precariously connected items of equipment and exploding Erlenmeyer flasks. A child from Nigeria...draw[s] a scientist as a helper and a cornerstone of the community...more than likely a woman (Sjoberg, 1997). The DAST has also been used in a nationwide evaluation of the public television show, Bill Nye the Science Guy. Images drawn by children before and after viewing the show did not differ much, except for a slight increase in children drawing Bill Nye, but they were not as stereotypical as those drawn by children during the 1960's and 1970's, and included fewer images of scientists with facial hair , glasses and lab coats, and more images of female scientists. (Robin Boyar, 1996). Indeed, a recent study of 132 secondary school students indicated a change in the standard image of the scientist to show less gender bias (Matthews, 1996). The DAST has been shown to be useful in analyzing attitudes about science (Matkins, 1996) and is easily administered and scored using a checklist method (Finsen et al, 1995) as opposed to survey methods (Stephen and Riesz, 1995; Holler, 1995). However, depictions of scientists in the DAST and actual views of scientists and science are not always in agreement (Bielenberg, 1997) and some disagreement exists about the reliability of scoring and in interpreting DAST data (Symington and Spurling, 1990). For this reason, several recent studies assessing conceptions of scientists have used a combination DAST and survey or interview method (Bielenberg, 1997) or have modified the instructions from simply "Draw a Scientist" to "Do a drawing which tells you what you know about scientists and their work." (Matkins, 1996). I chose to use the simpler, original directions because it did not occur to me to ask a more sophisticated question and I wanted to get the "gut reaction" scientist image and because I did the literature review after I had the pictures in hand but before I had selected a scoring method.

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Subjects


    The subjects included all students in the 6th, 7th, and 8th grade classes at Mary Star of the Sea Elementary School and students in an introduction to physical science course and students in biology, honors biology, chemistry, honors chemistry, physics and marine science courses at Mary Star of the Sea High School. Both schools are located in San Pedro, California. Most of the students have a middle class background with an ethnic mix of approximately 50 percent Hispanic, 5 percent black, and 45 percent white with Italian or Croatian ancestry. The students’ parents are employed in the fishing or shipping industry, are from military families assigned to the nearby naval base, or professionals that work in the San Pedro area. Approximately 25 percent of the students are on full scholarship, including several from South Central Los Angeles and Wilmington ghetto areas. A few of the students come from the affluent communities of Palos Verdes, which is located in the hills overlooking San Pedro and the Los Angeles Harbor area. Many of the students’ parents have not been to college and some do not themselves have high school diplomas. As a whole the parents are supportive of the schools and the teachers and want their children to finish high school and go on to college.

Table 1 shows the characteristics of each of the classes. A total of 348 male and female middle school and high school students, aged 10 to 18 years old, were included in the study. The students were grouped by gender, grade level and/or subject area groups for the initial analysis, then combined in various ways. For example, the middle school grades were analyzed separately and then as a group because the number of students in each grade was small and the experience previous to the DAST was similar for the students. The high school classes were analyzed separately by class type and then physical science was treated as a group because the DAST was administered during the 1st week of their semester course in physical science and this was their first formal high school science course. Their middle school science experience ranged from non-existent, haphazard, to structured and/or hands-on. Biology, chemistry and physics classes are grouped because they represent the traditional college prep sequence and marine science is analyzed separately because it is offered as an alternative course and is not as structured as the college prep classes. It tends to be more laboratory-oriented in the first semester and more natural history-oriented, using videos of marine life, in the second semester.

The middle school science program was changed at the beginning of the 1997-1998 school year with the addition of a dedicated science specialist teacher for grades 6, 7 and 8; the same teacher acted as a resource for the lower grades. Previously the science program had been disorganized and haphazard (Lortie, September 12, 1997) with no grade nor school level curriculum and no laboratory or hands-on component except an annual science fair. The high school science program has a strong laboratory component but follows a typical high school scope and sequence structure: one semester of introduction to physical science for 2nd semester 9th grade students; a required year course in biology or honors biology for 10th grade students; a required year course in either chemistry or honors chemistry for students meeting math prerequisites or marine science in 11th grade; and an elective year courses in physics (math prerequisites), global science or anatomy and physiology.

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Procedure


Students were provided with a sheet of white or colored paper, 8.5 by 11 inches, and given the instructions: "Draw a scientist" or "Draw what you think a scientist looks like." They were told that the drawings were for a research study and were not going to be graded. The students were asked to indicate their gender and their grade level. If a student asked for clarification, he or she was instructed to draw an "image of a scientist" or "what you think a scientist looks like", that "stick figures were okay" and/or that "artistic talent" was not being evaluated. Students were given approximately 15 minutes to draw the images; middle school students had approximately 30 minutes to complete the drawings.

The drawings were evaluated using a scoring sheet developed using the 11 standard indicators suggested in the study by Mason, Kahle and Gardner (1991), a format similar to that found in Thomas (1998), and additional indicator categories for sinister or mad scientists, eccentric or nerd scientists, neutral images, positive images, or female images. Table 14 shows the format used to score the drawings. The format proved to be more complicated than necessary and only the presence of specific standard indicators or alternative images was checked. The scoring sheet allows for the scoring of "no indication", "some indication" or "great indication", but it was fairly easy to assess whether or not a specific indicator was present. A sinister image was considered one that depicted violence, evil, or negative images or signs or legends of any type. Scoring of an eccentric image was probably no reliable, since this would depend on my personal judgement of what a nerd looks like. A positive image was considered one in which the scientist was smiling or in which there were positive captions or other images in the drawing. In most cases the sex of the scientist was easy to determine; in the few drawings in which the sex was indeterminate, the image was scored as neutral. Neutral was also used to score images that did not depict mad, eccentric or positive scientists. My intra rater reliability was not evaluated due to time constraints. No other person was asked to rate the pictures, although this information would have been both interesting and helpful. Some of the students were asked to "Draw a person on one side of the paper before drawing the scientist" as a control, but the person drawings were not evaluated, again due to time constraints. I decided to use data published in Mason, Kahle and Gardner (1991) as comparison values (see Tables 15 and 16) and also to compare middle school vs high school, and the different grade and class types among each other instead. But the drawings and score sheets are available for future analysis. See the Appendix for a sample score sheet and some sample drawings.

Once the drawings were scored, the distribution and percent distribution of numbers of standard in average numbers of standard indicators were determined for each gender, grade level, class, and class groupings. The numbers and percent distribution of male, female, mad, eccentric, positive and neutral images of scientists were also determined. After the drawings were scored, it became apparent that the drawings did not provide a complete picture of the students’ conceptions about scientists, so I also interviewed selected students in physics and chemistry classes. Physics students were selected for the interviews because they were willing to be interviewed and are at the end of their high school science career. Most of the students were in the class because they had plans to go to a four-year college and because they had been advised to take the class. And all of them had been in at least one other science class that I had taught; several had been in a math class as well as three other science classes! The chemistry students were interviewed for similar reasons. They were asked which gender did the first think about when asked to imagine a scientist, if gender mattered, to tell me some mental and physical attributes of a scientist, if they would consider being or becoming a scientist, if they thought becoming a scientist would be hard, and why. I wrote the answers to the questions during individual interviews (physics class) or the students wrote the answers during a class discussion/interview (chemistry class). These results are presented in Tables 2 through 13.

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Discussion of Results


It’s amazing how much quantitative, numerical data can be obtained from something as qualitative as a series of drawings. The he numbers are very useful for detecting patterns, for generalizing, for making comparisons among groups or with published and/or standardized data. Anecdotes, while admittedly qualitative and not subjective to statistical analysis or inference, can be very revealing, albeit in a different way. Anecdotal data is by its nature subjective, dependent on circumstances, and affected by the affective, cognitive and perceptive state of a person experiencing or recording the circumstance. Quantitative data is also, in this sense, subjective, but I suspect much less so than qualitative data. But I would like to begin this analysis of results, most of which are numerical-quantitative in nature, with a description of some of the spontaneous things that happened during my interactions with the students in obtaining the drawings and during the interviews.

I cannot comment on the circumstances surrounding the production of the middle school, 9th grade physical science drawings, or marine science drawings, because I wasn’t there. But I can comment on what the teachers told me when they gave me the drawings. The physical science teacher told that she was pleased to see some drawings of women scientists, because she didn’t expect to see any. The marine science teacher, on the other hand, apologized because the drawings did not appear to him to actually show scientists! I inferred from these incidents that the physical science teacher was aware of students’ images of scientists as male and would attempt implicitly if not explicitly to enlarge their view. Further discussion with her substantiated my view. I also inferred that the marine science teacher’s personal conception of a scientist fit the "standard image" of a be-goggled, bearded male wearing a lab coat and surrounded by lab gear. I did not question him on this, but I know that he fits my personal conception of a football coach who also teaches science. But that is another story for another study... The middle school teacher merely left the drawings in my mail box without comment, but she had the drawings neatly arranged according to grade level and gender. From this I inferred that she took my request for drawings seriously. A quick perusal of the drawings showed that the students also took the assignment seriously as well: the drawings were overall more detailed and more carefully done than those by the high school students, even considering that they were given further time for drawing. I suspect that the teacher used the opportunity as a "teaching moment." The students I gave the assignment seemed to enjoy the assignment and were eager to show their drawings to each other once completed. The incident that most stands out in my mind during the drawing phase was one that occurred in the physics class. The female students had no trouble beginning the drawings; several commented that it was nice to do something without numbers for a change. But three of the male students, always eager to do exactly the correct thing, kept questioning me about what I wanted them to draw. When they realized that I was not going to give them any hints or help, they found pictures of scientists in the physics text to copy. This indicated to me that either they really had no preconceived idea about what a scientist looked like, which I would consider a positive sign, or they really did not want to disappoint me, which I would consider a negative or maybe only a neutral sign. They ended up copying pictures of male scientists from the text book. They labeled the pictures with the names of the scientists. Of course, the physics book does have a few pictures of female scientists, but these are on "career focus" pages and not on "science innovators" pages. This action tends to support the observation by She (1995) that "students often draw images strikingly similar to those presented in their science textbooks."

Three incidents stand out from the interview segment of this study, which occurred during a science fair debriefing discussion. After the group interview-discussion with the chemistry students, in which most admitted that their initial gender image of a scientist was male but that it really did not matter (see Table 10), I asked them to guess the single most frequently mentioned scientist indicator in the drawings. They all responded, essentially together, "glasses" or "goggles," followed by lab coat. But they all agreed that scientists don’t have to wear glasses or goggles or lab coats to do science. From this I inferred that the students do have a mental representation of a scientist but that this image is not as powerful or as immutable as the DAST studies indicate. Of course, these are older high school students, in physics and chemistry, some of whom are considering pursuing science careers (see Table 13). The physics students were interviewed individually while the class worked on group investigations. The female students were interviewed first and none had any trouble responding to the questions or coming up with a list of attributes of a scientist. The male students, on the other hand, tended to provide short answers and required prompts to list attributes. One student stated that the questions were hard because he had never thought about them before; another student said that scientists have to work very hard so that is why people don’t want to be scientists but he wanted to be a dentist, which is sort of a scientist, and he knew that he would have to work hard, which was something he did not look forward to. But he did look forward to the golf! This, of course opened up an entire new avenue for exploration....which I did not pursue, again due to time constraints. The most revealing comment during the interviews with the male physics students was when one spontaneously said the name of his lab partner when asked to tell me some attributes of a scientist. This students works hard, wants to be a lawyer, and isn’t considering science because it is not creative enough. He volunteered that he prefers the lab activities like the "black box" ones in which he can use his imagination. He thinks of his lab partner as a scientist because he, the lab partner, pays attention to detail, never gives up, continuously checks data, wants to repeat experiments, and "stresses" about everything. A very revealing portrait of a scientist, indeed!

The overall results of the interview segment of the study are presented in Tables 9 through 13. These were revealing because they presented a much more dynamic view of a scientist than those presented by the drawings. Most stated that a scientist was smart and many mentioned the creative and imaginative side. More students than I suspected mentioned that they would consider being a scientist and all said that it would be hard, mostly because of the math or the memorization involved. One very perceptive student stated that it’s hard to become anything so it would not make any difference if becoming a scientist was hard.

As a caveat to the interview studies: I know all of the students, they have all taken previous classes with me, and some may have provided answers that they think I wanted them to give. This is a common problem with this type of interview study. But as a preliminary study it was quite revealing and has suggested several possible avenues for further research.

Now the quantitative data, which is presented in Tables 2 through 8.  The data is presented in different formats for completeness and to aid in detecting patterns. The maximum number of standard indicators possible was 11 but the highest number of indicators presented in the drawings was 9, detected in 1 female and 5 male drawings, representing 1 % of the females and 3% of the males, respectively. Four of these drawings were from the middle school group (all from males), one from the physical science group (also a male) and one from the bio-chem-physics group (the female) (Tables 2 and 3). Drawings with no standard indicators were found in 2(4%) female middle school drawings, 2 (5%) male physical science drawings, 2 (9%) female marine science drawings, and 2 (3%) female bio-chem-physics drawings. Two or less standard indicators per drawing were noted in 12 (25 %) female and 10 (23%) male middle school drawings, 11 (25%) female and 8 (20%) male physical science drawings, 13 (58%) female and 8 (24%) male marine science drawings, and 20 (30%) female and 17 (32%) male bio-chem-physics drawings (Tables 4 and 5). The average number of standard indicators (Table 6), which varied from 2.9 ± 2.0 in female marine science students to 5.9 ± 1.9 in male 6th grade students, was similar to that reported in the Mason, Kahle and Gardner study (1991) (Table 14), although that for the male and female 6th and male 8th grade students was higher. The Mason, Kahle and Gardner study was conducted among high school students from 14 different schools in urban, suburban and high schools and is not strictly comparable to my study group. This study used an 11-standard indicator DAST test and interviews to evaluate the efficacy of an intervention program to help teachers promote a stimulating gender-free learning environment. In a preliminary study of a 7-indicator version of the DAST, Chambers (1983) reports an average of 3.26 standard indicators among 468 5th grade students, a figure lower than most of the values in my study. His study, which only includes students in kindergarten through 5th grade, is generally cited to support the emergence of the standard scientist image prior to and in early middle school. My study suggests a peak in number of science indicators among female 6th grade students (4.5 ± 1.1) followed by an overall decline, with a slight increase among female physical science (4.1 ± 2.0) physics students (4.1 ± 1.9) and a peak among male 6th grade students (5.9 ± 1.9) followed by a decline to 3.2 ± 1.5 among male physics students. I would like to take this as a sign that my fellow high school science teachers and I are doing something right, but since this is a baseline study, I shall have to be content with the decreasing trend but plan some follow-up studies.

Tables 7 and 8 report the distribution and percent distribution of selected indicators/images of scientists among middle school and high school students. The data indicate a higher proportion of male scientists among male compared to female students, varying from 61% of male physical science students to 80% of male middle school students to 91% of all male high school students. Female scientist images were detected in the drawings of 54% of female but 0% of male middle school students, 32% of female and 11 % of male physical science students, 35 % of female and 9% of male marine science students, and 29% of female bio-chem-physics students but only 2 % of male bio-chem-physics students. Overall, a similar percentage of middle and high school students drew female scientists (28% and 29%, respectively). These numbers are higher than those reported for control and experimental groups in the study described above by Mason, Kahle and Gardner (1991) (Table 15). Their study shows no overall change in gender-based scientist images among males following the intervention program but an increase from 16% to 26% among female subjects. It is not surprising that male students would draw male scientists but the increase in female images among female subjects is a hopeful sign. Again, my data, while higher than those reported in this study, must be interpreted with caution because this is only a baseline study. The data in Tables 7 and 8 tend to suggest a decrease in "mad scientist" images from middle through high school for male students at least (43% middle school males vs 23% high school males), a slight increase in "nerd scientist" images from middle through high school (9% for all middle school students vs 17 % for all high school students), and an alarming decrease in positive images of scientists from middle through high school (39% for all middle school students vs 27% for all high school students. This trend mirrors that reported by numerous studies on attitudes toward science, especially among female students (New York STS Education Project, no date; Stephen and Riesz, 1995) during the middle and high school years. The interview results among physics and chemistry students, however, indicate a much more positive attitude toward science than that detected or perhaps detectable by the DAST. I say this in self-defense, of course, since my portrayal of science and scientists does play a role in the mental representations of my students, and I would like to have a positive impact.

This study has provided me with more information than I can possibly digest in one sitting or in one paper. It has also opened my eyes on the power of a simple assessment tool that both allows the detection of patterns and highlights ambiguities. I think my interviews were richer because I chose an "assessment instrument" that provided me with direction and suggested questions. The DAST allowed me to organize and assess information not only about many students, but about students and a science program that I care about. However, the DAST only provided me with a one dimensional snapshot of my students’ mental representations about scientists. After interviewing the students, I realize that the image drawn in the DAST may represent only one of many scientist images the students have. Indeed, some of the male physics students indicated that prior to the drawing and the interview they had never really thought about what a scientist really is. Ah, an assessment that teaches while it assesses!

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List of Data Tables


Draw-A-Scientist Test score sheet

Table 1: Student characteristics: Gender and grade level

Table 2: Distribution of number of standard indicators for all subjects by gender

Table 3: Percent distribution of number of standard indicators by gender

Table 4: Distribution of number of standard indicators by grade level and gender

Table 5: Percent distribution of number of standard indicators by grade level and gender

Table 6: Average number of standard indicators by grade level and gender

Table 7: Distribution of number of selected indicators/images by grade level and gender

Table 8: Percent distribution of number of selected indicators/images by grade level and gender

Table 9: Interview responses of male and female physics students

Table 10: Interview responses of male and female chemistry students

Table 11: Interview responses of male and female physics students

Table 12: Interview responses of male and female physics students

Table 13: Interview responses of male and female chemistry students

Table 14: DAST: Average number of standard indicators from the 1991Mason, Kahle & Gardner study

Table 15: DAST: Percent male or female scientist images among male and female students from the 1991 Mason, Kahle & Gardner study

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Bibliography


Bielenberg, J. E. (1997). Learning from practice; Impressions from pictures of scientists don’t tell the whole story. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the national Association for research in Science Teaching, 1997. ERIC # ED406165

Barman, C.R. (1996). How do students really view science and scientists? Science and children Sept 1996, pp. 30-33.

Boyar, R. (1996). Science Rules. Robin’s Desktop: Days & Nights. www.znet.com/-rboyar/07.15.96.html (no longer on the server!)

Chambers, D. W. (1983). Stereotypic images of the scientist: The Draw-a-Scientist-Test. Science Education 67:255-265.

Finsen, K. D. & Beaver, J. B. (1994). Development and field test of a checklist for the Draw-a-Scientist Test. Paper presented at the Association for the Education of Teachers of Science Conference, 1994.

Finsen, K. D. et al (1995). Development and field test of a checklist for the Draw-a-Scientist Test. School science and mathematics 95:195-205.

Flick, L. (1990). Scientist in residence program improving children’s image of science and scientists. School science and mathematics 90:204-214.

Holler, J. (1995). What is your attitude toward science? Internet science attitude survey. www.uky.edu/-holler/msc/survey.html (no longer on the server!)

Huber, R. A. & Burton, G. M. (1995). What do students think scientists look like? School science and mathematics 95:371-376.

Lortie, Ann. (1997) personal communication, September 12, 1997.

Mason, C.L., Kahle, J. B., & Gardner, A.L. (1991). Draw-a-Scientist Test: Future Implications. School science and mathematics 91:193-198.

Matkins, J.J. (1996). Customizing the Draw-a-Scientist Test to analyze the effect that teachers have on their students’ perceptions and attitudes toward science. Paper presented at the Association for the Education of Teachers of Science Conference, 1996. http://www.ed.psu.edu/CI/Journals/96pap44.htm

Matthews, Brian (1996). Drawing scientists. Gender and education 8:231-243.

New York STS Education Project (nd). Increasing participation of females and minorities in the science classroom. www.nyssi.org/nyssi/14-sec.htm (no longer on server!)

Schibeci, R. A. & Sorensen, I. (1983). Elementary school children’s perceptions of scientists. School science and mathematics 83:14-20.

She, Hsiao-Ching. (1995). Elementary and middle school students’ image of science and scientists related to current science textbooks in Taiwan. Journal of science education and technology 4:283-294.

Sjoberg, S. (1997). In the eye of the beholder. Tell’Us 97 interview. www.sn.no/forskningsradet/publ/tellus/97/1/5.htm (no longer on server!)

Stephen, S.L. & Riesz, E.D. (1995). Survey of gender differences in attitudes toward science and analysis of gender patterns in math tracks. Cedar Rapids Community School District. www.iptv.org/FINELINK/resources/fine-clean-summaries/38-gender.htm (no longer on server...site being reconstructed!)

Symington, D. & Spurling, H. (1990). The Draw-a-Scientist Test: Interpreting the data. Research in Science and technological Education 8:75-77.

Thomas, J.A. (1998). Draw-a-Science-Teacher-Test: A visualization of beliefs and self-efficacy. Paper presented at the Association for the Education of Teachers of Science Conference, 1998).

 

Draw-A-Scientist Test

Student Data

Sex:

Age:

Class:

Standard Images

No Indication (0)

Some Indication (1)

Great Indication (2)

Lab Coat

     

Eyeglasses or Goggles

     

Facial Hair

     

Symbols of Research

     

test tubes

     

flasks

     

microscope

     

Bunsen burner

     

experimental animals

     

other

     

Symbols of Knowledge

     

books

     

filing cabinets

     

other

     

Signs of Technology (Products of Science)

     

solutions in glassware

     

machines

     

other

     

Captions (formula, equations, taxonomy)

     

Male

     

Signs/Labeling

     

Pencils/pens in pocket

     

Unkempt Appearance

     

Alternative Images

No Indication

Some Indication

Great Indication

Sinister (mad scientist, violence, etc)

     

Eccentric appearance (nerd)

     

Neutral

     

Positive (smiles, positive captions)

     

Female

     

Science Discipline

 

Total

 

 

Table 1: Student Characteristics: Gender and Grade Level

Grade Level--Class

# of Males

# of Females

Total # Students

6th--Physical Science

14

17

31

7th--Earth Science

16

9

25

8th--Life Science

14

20

43

Total Middle School

44

46

90

9th--Intro to Physical Science

39

44

83

10th--Biology or Honors Biology

18

25

43

11th--Chemistry or Honors Chemistry

24

29

53

12th--Physics

10

12

22

Total--Biology, Chemistry and Physics1

52

66

118

11th & 12th--Marine Science 2

34

23

57

Total High School

86

89

175

Total All Students

169

179

348

1. Students in college prep sequence

2 Students in elective sequence. Includes a few 12th grade students may have taken chemistry or may be concurrently enrolled in chemistry or physics.

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Table 2: Distribution of Number of Standard Indicators for All Subjects by Gender

(n = 348)

# of standard indicators

Female Students

Male Students

Total Students

0

6

2

8

1

19

12

31

2

32

30

62

3

31

26

57

4

34

24

58

5

26

35

61

6

18

20

38

7

5

13

18

8

8

2

10

9

1

5

6

 

Table 3: Percent Distribution of Number of Standard Indicators by Gender 

(n = 348)

# of standard indicators

% Female Students

% Male Students

% Total Students

0

3

1

2

1

11

7

9

2

18

18

18

3

17

15

16

4

19

14

17

5

14

21

17

6

10

12

11

7

3

8

5

8

4

1

3

9

1

3

2

 

Table 4: Distribution of Number of Standard Indicators by

Grade Level and Gender

# of standard indicators
Middle School
6th-8th
Physical Science
9th
Marine Science
11th-12th
Bio-Chem-Physics
10th-12th
High School *
10th-12th

gender

F

M

T

F

M

T

F

M

T

F

M

T

F

M

T

0

2

0

2

0

2

2

2

0

2

2

0

2

4

0

4

1

5

3

8

5

2

7

3

3

6

6

4

10

9

7

16

2

5

7

12

6

4

10

8

5

13

12

13

25

20

18

38

3

4

4

8

8

6

14

2

3

5

17

13

30

19

16

35

4

13

3

16

6

5

11

5

5

10

10

11

21

15

16

31

5

9

9

18

9

9

18

0

10

10

8

7

15

8

17

25

6

6

7

13

5

5

10

1

5

6

6

3

9

7

8

15

7

2

6

8

1

3

4

1

2

3

1

2

3

2

4

6

8

0

1

1

4

1

5

1

0

1

3

0

3

4

0

4

9

0

4

4

0

1

1

0

0

0

1

0

1

1

0

1

Total #

46

44

90

44

38

82

23

33

56

66

53

119

89

86

175

* Includes students in marine science, biology, chemistry and physics classes. Students in physical science were given the DAST at the beginning of their semester course in physical science and are treated as a separate group.

F = Female Students, M = Male Students, T = Total Students

Table 5: Percent Distribution of Number of Standard Indicators by Grade Level and Gender

# of standard indicators
Middle School
6th-8th
Physical Science
9th
Marine Science
11th-12th
Bio-Chem-Physics
10th-12th
High School *
10th-12th

 

F

M

T

F

M

T

F

M

T

F

M

T

F

M

T

0

4

0

2

0

5

2

9

0

4

3

0

2

4

0

2

1

11

7

9

11

5

9

13

9

11

9

8

8

10

8

9

2

11

16

13

14

10

12

35

15

22

18

24

21

23

21

22

3

9

9

9

18

16

17

9

9

9

26

24

25

21

19

20

4

28

7

18

14

13

13

22

15

18

15

21

18

17

19

18

5

20

20

20

21

24

22

0

31

18

12

13

13

9

20

14

6

13

16

15

11

13

12

4

15

11

9

6

8

8

9

9

7

4

14

9

2

8

6

4

6

5

2

4

2

2

4

3

8

0

2

1

9

3

6

4

0

2

4

0

2

5

0

2

9

0

9

4

0

3

1

0

0

0

2

0

1

1

0

1

* Includes students in marine science, biology, chemistry and physics classes. Students in physical science were given the DAST at the beginning of their semester course in physical science and are treated as a separate group.

F = Female Students, M = Male Students, T = Total Students

 

Table 6: Average Number of Standard Indicators ± Standard Deviation by

Grade Level and Gender

Grade Level

Female Students

Male Students

Total Students

6th Grade

4.5 ± 1.1

5.9 ± 1.9

5.2 ± 1.7

7th Grade

3.2 ± 1.7

3.3 ± 1.7

3.3 ± 1.7

8th Grade

3.4 ± 2.1

5.6 ± 2.3

4.3 ± 2.4

Middle School

3.8 ± 1.8

4.9 ± 2.3

4.3 ± 2.1

Physical Science

4.1 ± 2.0

4.2 ± 2.1

4.1 ± 2.1

Marine Science

2.9 ± 2.0

4.2 ± 1.7

3.6 ± 1.9

Biology

3.4 ± 1.7

3.6 ± 1.4

3.5 ± 1.6

Chemistry

3.6 ± 2.1

3.3 ± 1.6

3.5 ± 1.9

Physics

4.1 ± 1.9

3.2 ± 1.5

3.7 ± 1.8

Bio, Chem and Phys

3.6± 1.9

3.4 ± 1.5

3.5 ± 2.7

High School*

3.4 ± 1.9

3.7 ± 1.6

3.5 ± 1.8

* Includes students in marine science, biology, chemistry and physics classes. Students in physical science were given the DAST at the beginning of their semester course in physical science and are treated as a separate group.

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Table 7: Distribution of Number of Selected Indicators/Images by

Grade Level and Gender

Middle School
6th-8th
Physical Science
9th
Marine Science
11th-12th
Bio-Chem-Physics
10th-12th
High School *
10th-12th

Indicator~Image Type

F

M

T

F

M

T

F

M

T

F

M

T

F

M

T

Male Scientist a

14

35

49

20

23

43

15

30

45

24

48

72

39

78

117

Female Scientist a

25

0

25

14

4

18

8

3

11

19

1

20

27

23

50

"Mad" Scientist b

6

19

25

0

6

6

5

7

12

5

8

13

10

20

20

"Nerd" Scientist c

0

8

8

4

6

10

2

6

8

11

11

22

13

17

30

Positive Science d

23

12

35

22

7

29

4

8

12

21

7

28

29

19

48

Neutral Science e

17

5

22

22

20

42

12

13

25

28

26

54

40

67

117

Total Students f

46

44

90

44

38

82

23

33

56

66

53

119

89

86

175

* Includes students in marine science, biology, chemistry and physics classes. Students in physical science were given the DAST at the beginning of their semester course in physical science and are treated as a separate group.

F = Female Students, M = Male Students, T = Total Students

a Figure obviously male or female.

b Representation of a mad, sinister or evil figure or signs/captions indicative of destructive or bad uses of science.

c Representation of an eccentric or nerd view of a scientist.

d Representation of a positive view of science, smiling face, signs/captions indicative of good or positive uses of science.

e Neutral representation of science: no obvious sinister, evil, eccentric, or positive indicators

f Total refers to total students in a grade level whose drawings were analyzed and not to column totals.

Table 8: Percent Distribution of Number of Selected Indicators/Images by Grade Level and Gender

Indicator~Image Type

F

M

T

F

M

T

F

M

T

F

M

T

F

M

T

MaleScientist a

30

80

54

45

61

52

65

91

80

36

91

61

44

91

67

Female Scientist a

54

0

28

32

11

22

35

9

20

29

2

17

30

27

29

"Mad" Scientist b

13

43

28

0

16

7

22

21

21

8

15

11

11

23

17

"Nerd" Scientist c

0

18

9

2

16

12

9

18

14

17

21

18

15

20

17

Positive Science d

50

27

39

50

18

35

17

24

21

32

13

24

33

22

27

Neutral Science e

37

11

24

50

53

51

52

40

45

50

49

45

45

78

67

* Includes students in marine science, biology, chemistry and physics classes. Students in physical science were given the DAST at the beginning of their semester course in physical science and are treated as a separate group.

F = Female Students, M = Male Students, T = Total Students

a Figure obviously male or female.

b Representation of a mad, sinister or evil figure or signs/captions indicative of destructive or bad uses of science.

c Representation of an eccentric or nerd view of a scientist.

d Representation of a positive view of science, smiling face, signs/captions indicative of good or positive uses of science.

e Neutral representation of science: no obvious sinister, evil, eccentric, or positive indicators

Table 9: Interview Responses of Male and Female Physics Students

to the Questions:

"What gender do you think of first when thinking of a scientist" and "Does it matter?

Respondent Gender

# Answering Male

# Answering Female

# Answering Both

# Saying "Yes, it matters"

# Saying "No, it doesn’t matter

Male

(n = 8)

8

0

0

0

8

Female

(n = 10)

4

0

6

0

10

Table 10: Interview Responses of Male and Female Chemistry Students

to the Questions:

"What gender do you think of first when thinking of a scientist" and "Does it matter?

Respondent Gender

# Answering Male

# Answering Female

# Answering Both

# Saying "Yes, it matters"

# Saying "No, it doesn’t matter

Male

(n = 11)

9

0

2

1

8

Female

(n = 17)

10

1

6

0

17

Table 11: Interview Responses of Male and Female Physics Students

to the Question:

"What are the attributes of a scientist?"

Gender of Respondent

Responses

female

meticulous, serious, innovative, commanding, determined, sure, know what they want to do

female

smart, good at math, good memory (they have to memorize all the equations), hands-on stuff

female

wants to know everything, focuses on details--small things matter. Someone with no boundaries...crazy..spirited...enthusiastic

female

lots of education...vast knowledge of math and logic...an Einstein type

female

smart, lab coat

female

smart, intelligent, knows what he is doing, glasses, lab coat

female

smart, professional

female

lab coat and chemist’s bottles in lab, smart, more thinking than emotional...quick-minded, studies and reads a lot

female

really smart--mathematical

female

person with glasses, intelligent

male

smart, glasses with the pens in the pocket-protector, ready to work, make observations, discover something

male

Mr. Wizard, white coat, glasses, beard, smart

male

someone in lab coat, middle-aged, glasses, smart

male

chemistry--mix solutions, blowing up labs and stuff, smart, clever, have courage to take risks and come up with new ideas and change

male

students working in a lab, smart, determined, focused

male

above average intelligence, lots of studying, maybe like a doctor or plants and outer space

male

test tubes and electron microscopes, off the wall different way of thinking

male

smart, brainy, lab coat and goggles

Table 12: Interview Responses of Male and Female Physics Students

to the Questions:

"Would you consider being a scientist?"

"Would it be hard?" and "Why"

Gender of Respondent

Responses

female

yes, an astronomer. Yes, hard because of the math

female

yes. Yes, it would be difficult.

female

Yes. Animals or animal research. Yes, it would be difficult because a lot of time.

female

Yes. Yes, it would be difficult...kind of, a lot of work to understand.

female

No way! Not something I want to do. I want to travel, work in travel and tourism.

female

No, no interest in science.

female

No, not what I want to do. I want to do some kind of business

female

I wanted to be when I was little, an astronomer, but I changed my interest, I want to be an actress and a writer

female

No, I don’t like science. I like biology, but the rest have math!

male

Yes. Yes it would be difficult because nothing is out there...you have to go out and get it...It’s never ending.

male

Yes, but probably not...hard work and a lot of school associated with science.. But I want to be a dentist---that’s more or less a scientist---it’s pretty cool...I can play golf.

male

Yes. Yes it would be difficult because you have to learn a lot of stuff and have broad knowledge.

male

Yes. Yes it would be difficult because you have to memorize a lot of stuff

male

No, too scientific...not enough room for creativity...we should do more of the "guess what’s inside" type of lab.

male

Yes, probably an astronomer. Yes, it would be difficult.. There’s a language to learn and the math...complex terms and stuff

male

No. Well, I might want to be a doctor, that’s a scientist...Yes, I’m considering being a scientist. Yes, it is difficult but everything is difficult, nothing is easy.

male

No, I think of them as doing lab word and experiments...not what I see myself doing.

Table 13 : Interview Responses of Male and Female Chemistry Students

to the Questions:

"Have you ever considered being a scientist?" and "Do you think it would be difficult?"

Respondent Gender

# Answering "Yes"

# Answering "No"

# "Yes.... difficult"

# because of "Math"

# because of "Work"

Male

(n = 11)

5

6

11

1

1

Female

(n = 17)

11

6

12

4

5

Table 14: DAST: Average Number of Standard Indicators from a

Random Sample of 10% of Tests in Control1 and Treatment2 Groups (Mason, Kahle & Gardner, 1991)

Group/Gender

# of Students

# of Standard Indicators

Control/All

30

3.96 ± 1.54

Control/Male

20

3.94 ± 1.55

Control/Female

10

4.00 ± 1.60

Experimental/All

30

4.20 ± 1.86

Experimental/Male

14

4.36 ± 2.06

Experimental/Female

16

4.06 ± 1.73

1 No intervention to help teachers promote a stimulating gender-free learning environment.

2 Intervention program to help teachers promote a simulating gender free learning environment.

Table 15: DAST: Percent Male or Female Scientist Images

among Male and Female High School Students in Control1 and Treatment2 Groups (Mason, Kahle & Gardner, 1991)

Group/Gender

# of Students

% Male

% Female

Control/All

213

87

16

Control/Male

112

95

0

Control/Female

101

78

16

Experimental/All

336

68

16

Experimental/Male

173

83

6

Experimental/Female

163

53

26

1 No intervention to help teachers promote a stimulating gender-free learning environment.

2 Intervention program to help teachers promote a simulating gender free learning environment.

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