Gender Differences in Attitudes to Learning Science in Grade 7
Learners’ attitude to learning science plays a vitally important role with respect to career choices. This study reflects on the nature of the learners’ attitude towards science and the effect of gender. A total of 547 Grade 7 learners from an urban district of Gauteng Province (South Africa) were administered a questionnaire to probe their attitudes and interests in learning science. The questionnaire itself was a modified version of an extant questionnaire, consisting of 15 questions. Learners were requested to indicate their degree of agreement or disagreement to each of the questionnaire item, on a five-point Likert-type scale of evaluation. The results were analysed in terms of the A (affection), B (behaviour) and C (cognition) model of attitudes. The results reflect positivity on many items of the questionnaire in the learning of science for all three components of attitude. On the issue of gender differentials, there appears to be no significant difference in attitude between Grade 7 boys and girls towards learning science from a South African perspective. In terms of subject preference, boys were more inclined to study physics and chemistry, while girls had a higher preference for biology and astronomy. However, the need for a dedicated laboratory to conduct experiments for the purposes of conceptual development was identified as a priority by the learners.