Applicability of the DAST-C to the images of scientists drawn by students of different racial groups
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The perceptions students hold of scientists has been a subject of study since Mead and Metraux first reported having students draw scientists in 1957. Subsequent work in this area by Chambers (1983) and Schibeci and Sorensen (1983) led to the clear identification of a number of attributes or elements comprising stereotypical images students possess about scientists. Building on this work, Finson, Beaver, and Cramond (1995) developed a checklist (the Draw-A-Scientist Test Checklist, or DAST-C) for use in assessing drawings of scientists. One of the advantages of the checklist was that quantifiable scores for drawings could be derived and, hence, be subject to comparative data analysis. Researchers are finding out that stereotypical images can have specific influences on the shaping of children’s perceptions in science. Of particular concern is the impact of negative or stereotypical images of scientists on the career aspirations of females and minorities. Since the DAST-C has been used in a growing number of studies on students’ perceptions of scientists, the validity of the DAST-C for use with multicultural groups needs to be examined. In this study, drawings were obtained from eighth grade students who were Caucasian, Native American, and African American. The drawings were analyzed and scored using the DAST-C. Comparisons of those results showed no significant differences between groups.
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