Value of a College Education : A Longitudinal Study of Science Literacy
Donovan, Bryan A.
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Science literacy refers to knowledge of fundamental scientific facts, understanding of the process of science, and understanding of science's impact on society (Miller, 1989). Exposure to college-level science courses explains substantial variance in science literacy and has also been credited for America's higher level of science literacy overall relative to other countries (National Science Board, 2010). However, the suggestion that college-level science coursework leads to growth in science literacy has not been tested with a longitudinal design that can account for selection effects -- the possibility that people with strong science literacy select into coursework in science. Moreover, recent longitudinal studies of American college student development (Arum & Roksa, 2011; Blaich & Wise, 2011) implicate limited growth in analytical thinking during college. The purpose of this longitudinal study was to determine whether students in a public, four-year liberal arts university experience growth over three years in science literacy and, if that growth occurs, whether it is robust across gender and discipline of study.
College students--Knowledge--Science--Sex differences
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