Longitudinal impact of an inquiry-based science program on middle school students’ attitudes towards science

Published:2002, Science Education
Authors:Gibson H, Chase C
Type:Project Generated
View Publication http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/97519371/abstract

Abstract

This study examined the long-term impact of the Summer Science Exploration Program (SSEP), a 2-week inquiry-based science camp, conducted at Hampshire College Amherst, MA from 1992 to 1994. The goal of the program was to stimulate greater interest in science and scientific careers among middle-school students. One hundred fifty-eight students were selected from a pool of applicants to attend the program using stratified random sampling procedures. In 1996, 22 participants were selected to participate in follow-up interviews using stratified random sampling procedures. Two quantitative surveys, the Science Opinion Survey and the Career Decision-Making Revised Surveys, were administered to 79 SSEP students and 35 students who applied but were not accepted (the control group). Pretest and posttest scores were analyzed for any significant change over time. Additionally, a cohort of over 500 students who were enrolled in the same grades and public schools that SSEP students attended completed the two surveys in both 1992-1994 and 1996-1997. The interviews and surveys suggested that SSEP students maintained a more positive attitude towards science and a higher interest in science careers than students who applied to the program but were not selected.