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ABSTRACT For more than thirty years the gender gap in science and related careers has been a key concern of researchers, teachers, professional organizations, and policy makers. Despite indicators of progress for women and girls on some measures of achievement, course enrollment patterns, and employment, fewer women than men pursue college degrees and careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. According to the results of national assessments, the gender gap in science achievement begins to be evident in the middle school years. Gender and school science achievement involve a complex set of factors associated with schools and child/family systems that may include school leadership, institutional practices, curriculum content, teacher training programs, teacher expectations, student interests, parental involvement, and cultural values. This ethnographic case study was designed to explore the context for science education reform and the participation of middle school girls. The study analyzed and compared teaching strategies and female student engagement in sixth, seventh, and eighth grade science classrooms. The setting was a middle school situated in a district that was well-known for its achievement in reading, math, and technology. Findings from the study indicated that while classroom instruction was predominantly organized around traditional school science, the girls were more disciplined and outperformed the boys. The size of the classrooms, time to prepare for hands-on activities, and obtaining resources were identified as barriers to teaching science in ways that aligned with recent national science reform initiatives. Parents who participated in the study were very supportive of their daughters' academic progress and career goals. A few of the parents suggested that the school's science program include more hands-on activities; instruction designed for the advanced learner; and information related to future careers. Overall the teachers and students perceived their science program to be gender fair. Eighth grade participants who had career goals related to science and engineering, indicated that their science instruction did not provide the rigor they needed to improve their critical skills for advanced placement in high school. Recommendations include the need for professional development on inquiry-based science, equitable student achievement, and diverse perspectives in science education.
The purpose of the research conducted and presented in this thesis is to explore mentoring programs for ASL/English Interpreters, with a focus on the question "Is a Peer Mentoring Program a successful approach to mentoring working and novice interpreter?" The method of qualitative data collection was done via questionnaires and interviews with past participants of a Peer Mentoring Program and questionnaires to identified persons who have experience creating and running mentoring programs. The results of the data collection show that a Peer Mentoring Program is a successful approach to mentoring working and novice interpreters. This research provides valued information in regard to the experience of persons in a Peer Mentoring Program as well as successful aspects of such a mentoring approach.
An underrepresentation of females exists in the STEM fields. In order to tackle this issue, work begins early in the education of young women to ensure they are interested and have the confidence to gain a career in the STEM fields. It is important to engage girls in STEM opportunities in and out of school to ignite their interest and build their confidence. Brigid Barron's learning ecology perspective shows that girls pursuing STEM outside of the classroom is critical to their achievement in the STEM pipeline. This study investigated the impact after-school STEM learning opportunities have on middle school girls by investigating (a) how the length of engagement in after-school programs can affect the confidence of female students in their science and math abilities; (b) how length of engagement in after-school programs can affect the interest of female students in attaining a career in STEM; (c) how length of engagement in after-school programs can affect interest in science and math classes; and (d) how length of engagement can affect how female students' view gender parity in the STEM workforce. The major findings revealed no statistical significance when comparing confidence in math or science abilities or the perception that gender plays a role in attaining a career in STEM. The findings revealed statistical significance in the areas when comparing length of engagement in the girls' interest in their math class and attaining a career in three of the four STEM fields: science, technology, and engineering. The findings showed that multiple terms of engagement in the after-school STEM programs appear to be an effective catalyst to maintain the interest of girls pursuing STEM-related careers, in addition to allowing their interest in a topic to provide a new lens for the way they see their math work during the school day. The implications of this study show that schools must engage middle school girls who are interested in STEM in a multitude of settings, including outside of the classroom in order to maintain engagement in the STEM pipeline.
A researcher reflects using a close reading of interview transcripts and description to share what happened while participating in multiple roles in a larger ethnographic study of the acculturation process of deaf students in kindergarten classrooms in three countries. The course of this paper will focus on three instances that took place in Japan and America. The analysis of these examples will bring to light the concept of taking on multiple roles, including graduate research assistant, interpreter, cultural mediator, and sociolinguistic consultant within a research project serving to uncover challenging personal and professional dilemmas and crossing boundaries; the dual roles, interpreter and researcher being the primary focus. This analysis results in a brief look at a thought provoking, yet evolving task of the researcher/interpreter. Maintaining multiple roles in the study the researcher is able to potentially identify and contribute "hidden" knowledge that may have been overlooked by other members of the research team. Balancing these different roles become key implications when interpreting practice, ethical boundaries, and participant research at times the lines of separation are blurred.