Psychometric Re-evaluation of the Women in Science Scale (WISS)

Published:2007, Journal of Research in Science Teaching
Authors:Owen SV, Toepperwein MA, Pruski LA, Blalock CL, Liu Y, Marshall CE, Lichtenstein MJ
Type:Project Generated

general science, gender, equity, evaluation, theory, secondary

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The Women in Science Survey (WiSS) was first developed in 1984 and is still being used in contemporary studies, yet its psychometric properties have not been evaluated with current statistical methods. In this study, the WiSS was administered in its original 27-item form to 1439 middle and high school students. Confirmatory factor analysis based upon the original description of the WiSS was modestly supportive of the proposed 3-factor structure, but the claimed dimensions showed substantial redundancy. Therefore, we split our sample and performed exploratory factor analyses on one half. The most satisfactory solution, a 2-factor model, was then applied to the cross validation sample with a confirmatory factor analysis. This 2-factor structure was supported with a total of 14 items. Factor 1, Equality, contains 7 items and factor 2, Sexism, 10 items (??2(17) = 23.12, p = .12, CFI = .92, RMSEA = .04 (.90 CL = .04 – .04). Although our data are limited to adolescents, the WiSS, with improved psychometric properties may be used descriptively to assess attitudes toward women in science and with additional stability and repeatability testing, may be used in evaluation research. The shortened WiSS should result in shorter administration time, fewer missing data, and increased acceptance among survey administrators in classroom settings.