Elementary Science Anxiety: Impact of Experience and Gender

Lewis, Rebecca
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Our country has some of the finest educational institutions that produce some of the world’s most innovative thinkers. However, our K-12 public school system science achievement levels are far behind many of the other leading industrialized countries. While mathematics education studies have found links between teacher math anxiety, teacher gender, and student learning by gender, few such studies have been done in the context of science education. In this study, we analyze pre-service and practicing teachers’ responses to the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) to determine their levels of general anxiety and their level of anxiety specifically about teaching science. The goal of this project was to see if pre-service and in-service teachers are experiencing anxiety about teaching science. We hypothesized that both populations would present higher levels of science anxiety than general populations. The participants in the pre-service STAI overwhelmingly presented as science anxious. There were not enough participants in the in-service teacher study to generate an interpretation representative of the population. The pre-service teacher data contributes to the body of research addressing the concern of how science anxiety, like math anxiety, is perpetuated possibly as early as elementary schools, and the in-service teacher data lays the ground work for future research.
elementary education, science, anxiety, gender, teaching, Honors College
Lewis, R. (2015). Elementary science anxiety: Impact of experience and gender (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.