Perceptions and attitudes towards science and mathematics on the U.S.-Mexico border: The perspective of a group of middle school students and their parents

Fernando Becerra-Davila, University of Texas at El Paso

Abstract

Seventh and eighth grade students and their parents/guardians were surveyed to investigate both of their attitudes' about science and mathematics, and to assess the similarity of their views. The middle school in which this study took place is located in the U.S.-Mexico border area in El Paso, Texas. The survey used 12 Likert-type items and it was administered to 94 children and one of their parents/guardians. Almost all of the participants were Hispanic and most of them are of low socioeconomic status. (The surveys did not solicit demographic information, but the school demographics indicate a 97% Hispanic population with many having low SES.) The items questioned about six different kinds of perceptions related to science and mathematics. Analyses to determine the normality of the sample data indicate that most of the data were not normally distributed. For the statistical comparison of the mean answers given by the children and their parents/guardians, the Wilcoxon signed ranks test was used. Another approach was to calculate the Spearman rank correlations between children's and their parents/guardians responses. The results indicated that in general, the Hispanic parents/guardians have more positive perceptions and attitudes toward science and mathematics that their own children. These results challenge the negative stereotypes suggesting that Hispanic parents/guardians do not value education, especially science and mathematics education.^

Subject Area

Education, Secondary|Physics, General|Education, Sciences|Hispanic American Studies

Recommended Citation

Becerra-Davila, Fernando, "Perceptions and attitudes towards science and mathematics on the U.S.-Mexico border: The perspective of a group of middle school students and their parents" (2007). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI1444102.
http://digitalcommons.utep.edu/dissertations/AAI1444102

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