Advertisement

Journal of Science Education and Technology

, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 46–55 | Cite as

Bringing Up Girls in Science (BUGS): The Effectiveness of an Afterschool Environmental Science Program for Increasing Female Students’ Interest in Science Careers

  • Tandra Tyler-WoodEmail author
  • Amber Ellison
  • Okyoung Lim
  • Sita Periathiruvadi
Article

Abstract

Bringing Up Girls in Science (BUGS) was an afterschool program for 4th and 5th grade girls that provided authentic learning experiences in environmental science as well as valuable female mentoring opportunities in an effort to increase participants’ academic achievement in science. BUGS participants demonstrated significantly greater amounts of gain in science knowledge as measured by the Iowa Test of Basic Skills in Science (ITBS-S). The original BUGS participants and contrasts have now completed high school and entered college, allowing researchers to assess the long-term impact of the BUGS program. Fourteen former BUGS participants completed two instruments to assess their perceptions of science and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers. Their results were compared to four contrast groups composed entirely of females: 12 former BUGS contrasts, 10 college science majors, 10 non-science majors, and 9 current STEM professionals. Results indicate that BUGS participants have higher perceptions of science careers than BUGS contrasts. There were no significant differences between BUGS participants, Science Majors, and STEM professionals in their perceptions of science and STEM careers, whereas the BUGS contrast group was significantly lower than BUGS participants, Science Majors, and STEM Professionals. Additional results and implications are discussed within.

Keywords

Gender equity STEM Interest Female student perceptions of science 

Notes

Acknowledgments

BUGS is a gender equity grant funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF 0114917). We appreciate all participants: local elementary schools, parents, mentors, the Elm Fork Education Center, a public education branch of the University of North Texas’ Environmental Science Department.

References

  1. Baker D, Leary R (1995) Letting girls speak out about science. Journal of Research in Science Teaching 32(1):3–27CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bandura A (1977) Self-efficacy: toward a unifying theory of behavioral change. Psychol Rev 84:191–215CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Baram-Tsabari A, Sethi RJ, Bry L, Yarden A (2006) Using questions sent to an Ask-A-Scientist site to identify children’s interests in science. Sci Educ 90:1050–1072CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Blickenstaff JC (2005) Women and science careers: leaky pipeline or gender filter? Gender and Education 17(4):369–386CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bowdich S (2009) Analysis of research exploring culturally responsive curricula in Hawaii. In: Paper presented to the 31st annual hawaii educational research association conference, Honolulu, Feb. 7, 2009Google Scholar
  6. Burkham DT (1997) Gender and science learning early in high school: Subject matter and laboratory experiences. American Educational Research Journal 34(2):297–331Google Scholar
  7. Caleon I, Subramaniam R (2008) Attitudes towards science of intellectually gifted and mainstream upper primary students in Singapore. Journal of Research in Science Teaching 45:940–954CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cereijo MVP, Tyler-Wood TL, Young J (2002) Minimizing the gender equity gap in science and technology. World conference on E-learning in corp., Govt., Health, & Higher Education (01), pp 767–771Google Scholar
  9. Chipman SF, Brush LR, Wilson DM (eds) (1985) Women and mathematics: Balancing the equation. Erlbaum, Hillsdale, NJGoogle Scholar
  10. Coleman JE (1998). Barriers to career mobility/advancement by African-American and Caucasian female administrators in Minnesota organizations: A perception or reality? In: Paper presented at the annual meeting of the american educational research association, San Diego, CAGoogle Scholar
  11. Dee TS (2007) Teachers and the gender gaps in student achievement. Journal of Human Resources 42(3):528–554Google Scholar
  12. DeVellis R (1991) Scale development. Sage Publications, Newbury ParkGoogle Scholar
  13. Esprivalo-Harrell P, Walker M, Hildreth-Combes B, Tyler-Wood T (2004) Mentoring BUGS: an integrated science and technology curriculum. Journal of Computers in Mathematics and Science Teaching 23(4):367–378Google Scholar
  14. Ford DJ, Brickhouse NW, Lottero-Perdue P, Kittleson J (2006). Elementary girls’ science reading at home and school. Sci Educ 90:270–288Google Scholar
  15. Freeman C (2004). Trends in educational equity of girls & women: 2004 (No. NCES 2005016).Google Scholar
  16. Halpern D, Aronson J, Reimer N, Simpkins S, Star J, Wentzel K (2007) Encouraging girls in math and science. National Center for Education Research, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, Washington D.C.Google Scholar
  17. Hamrick FA, Carlisle LW (1990) Gender diversity in student affairs: administrative perceptions and recommendations. NASPA J 27(4):306–311Google Scholar
  18. Herbert J, Stipek D (2005) The emergence of gender differences in children’s perceptions of their academic competence. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology 26(3):276–295CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Knezek G, Christensen R (1998) Validating the teachers’ attitudes toward information technology questionnaire. In: Presentation to the society for information technology & teacher education 9th international conference, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  20. National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) (2003). Standards for science teacher preparation. Retrieved from http://www.nsta.org/pdfs/nstastandards2003.pdf
  21. Oakes J (1990) Multiplying inequalities: the effects of race, social class, and tracking on opportunities to learn mathematics and science. Rand Corp, Santa Monica, CA [ED 329 615]Google Scholar
  22. Packard BWL, Nguyen D (2003) Science career-related possible selves of adolescent girls: a longitudinal study. J Career Dev 29(4):251–263Google Scholar
  23. Reid N (2003) Gender and physics. International Journal of Science Education 25(4):509–536CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Smith J (2010). December data on Facebook’s US growth by age and gender: Beyond 100 million. Retrieved from http://www.insidefacebook.com/2010/01/04/december-data-on-facebook%E2%80%99s-us-growth-by-age-and-gender-beyond-100-million/
  25. Stoking V (1993) Attitudes about school of academically talented seventh graders. In: Paper presented at the annual meeting of the american educational research association (ED 374034)Google Scholar
  26. Subrahmanyan L, Bozonie H (1996) Gender equity in middle school science teaching: Being “equitable “should be the goal. Middle school Journal 27(5):3–10Google Scholar
  27. The White House Office of the Press Secretary (2009) President Obama launches “Educate to Innovate” campaign for excellence in science, technology, engineering & math (Stem) Education. Retrieved from http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/president-obama-launches-educate-innovate-campaign-excellence-science-technology-en
  28. Tsuji G, Ziegler S (1990) What research says about increasing the numbers of female students taking math and science in secondary school. Scope 4(4):1–5Google Scholar
  29. Tyler-Wood T (1993) Educational opportunities for gifted students in Georgia. In: Presentation to the national association of gifted children, Atlanta, GAGoogle Scholar
  30. Tyler-Wood TL, Mortensen MJ (2006) Bringing up girls in science. In: Conference proceedings for the society for information technology and teacher educationGoogle Scholar
  31. Tyler-Wood TL, Knezek G, Christensen R (2010) Instruments for assessing interest in STEM content and careers. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education 18(2):341–363Google Scholar
  32. van Langen A, Bosker R, Dekkers H (2006) Exploring cross-national differences in gender gaps in education. Educational Research and Evaluation 12(2):155–177CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Weinburgh MH (1995) Gender differences in student attitudes toward science: A meta-analysis of the literature from 1970–1991. Journal of Research in Science Teaching 32(4):387–398CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tandra Tyler-Wood
    • 1
    Email author
  • Amber Ellison
    • 1
  • Okyoung Lim
    • 1
  • Sita Periathiruvadi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Educational PsychologyUniversity of North TexasDentonUSA

Personalised recommendations