Date

2014

Department

School of Education

Degree

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Chair

Kurt Michael

Keywords

Attitudes, Enjoyment, Science Fairs, Survey Tools, Value

Disciplines

Curriculum and Instruction | Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Methods | Junior High, Intermediate, Middle School Education and Teaching | Science and Mathematics Education

Abstract

Science fairs are woven into the very fabric of science instruction in the United States and in other countries. Even though thousands of students participate in science fairs every year, no instrument to measure student attitudes toward partaking in this hands-on learning experience has been fully developed and available for school administrators and teachers to assess the perceived value that current students attribute to participation in science fairs. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to continue the development and refinement of an instrument that measured student attitudes towards science fairs based on an unpublished instrument created by Michael (2005). The instrument developed and tested using 110 students at two different middle schools in southwest Virginia. The instrument consisted of 45 questions. After applying a principal component factor analysis, the instrument was reduced to two domains, enjoyment and value. The internal consistency of the instrument was calculated using Cronbach's alpha and showed good internal consistency of .89 between the two domains. Further analysis was conducted using a Pearson product-moment test and showed a significant positive correlation between enjoyment and value (r = .78). Demographic information was explored concerning the domains using a series of statistical tests, and results revealed no significant differences among race and science fair category. However, a significant difference was found among gender and students who won awards and those who did not. The conclusion was that further development and refinement of the instrument should be conducted.