Title

Gender, mathematics, reading comprehension and science reasoning as predictors of science achievement among African-American students at a historical black college or university

Date of Award

2009

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Center for Science and Math Education

First Advisor

Sherry Herron

Advisor Department

Center for Science and Math Education

Abstract

This study investigated predictors that influence the science achievement of African-American non-science majors in a Physical Science class. The population consisted of male and female college students enrolled in Physical Science courses at a historical black college or university (HBCU) located in the southeastern portion of the United States. A personal data information sheet was administered to 120 participants during the Fall of 2008. The personal data information sheet consisted of questions pertaining to the high school courses, students took in math, language arts and science. It also consisted of basic background information. Students also gave written consent for their midterm and final grades earned in Physical Science to be used in the study as part of the analyses. A t-Test including chi-square tests revealed that there was not a significant difference in the raw scores of African-American females and African American males on the American College Test. A significant difference was not observed between the females and males on the ACT math subtest, t (118) = -.78, p=.43; reading comprehension subtest, t (118) = -1.44, .15 or on the science reasoning subtest, t (118) = -1.46, p=.15. A significant difference was not found between the final grades of African American females and the final grades of African American males. Chi-square tests were conducted to determine goodness of fit, X 2 =6.11, df = 1, p= .191. Although the grades of females were higher than males, results were not significant. The correlation between math ACT and final grades were not significant, r = .131, N=120, p = .155, reading comprehension ACT and final grades were not significant, r = .072, N=120, p = .434 and science reasoning ACT and final grades were found not to be significant, r = .109, N = 120, p = .237. Being that the majority of students who participated in the study were from one state, had similar high school backgrounds, had similar majors and were similar in age the sample had more homogeneity than difference. This may be the most plausible explanation for the results found in this study.