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The significance of the Young Scholar Program : an investigation of at-risk students enrolled in a mathematics and science program

Kline, Jennifer. ;Halloran, Philip P. thesis advisor

1995

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  • Title:
    The significance of the Young Scholar Program : an investigation of at-risk students enrolled in a mathematics and science program
  • Author/Creator: Kline, Jennifer.
  • Halloran, Philip P. thesis advisor; Central Connecticut State University. Department of Mathematics.
  • Creation Date: 1995
  • Language: English
  • Physical Description: iv, 141 leaves ; 29 cm.; paper 29 cm. ink typescript.
  • Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
  • Subjects: Wesleyan University (Middletown, Conn.). Young Scholar Program; Educational tests and measurements; Social sciences -- Research; Social sciences -- Methodology; High school students -- Attitudes
  • Description: This thesis tested the development of the students of the Young Scholar Program (YSP) throughout their five-week stay at Wesleyan University during the summer of 1994. Tests were done to see if the program met the many different goals it set for minority urban high school students. The specific areas of attitudes toward mathematics and sciences, problem-solving ability and study habits were tested. This ex post facto study intended to show the importance of the existence of programs such as YSP. Sixty highly motivated students were selected from areas identified as "at-risk". The group of students chosen had ethnic and gender balance. These students were given questionnaires and surveys at the beginning and end of the program. The data were analyzed using one-way analysis of variance, F-tests and included the evaluation of a Likert scale. While most of the students at the beginning of the program hoped to attend at four-year college, the analysis showed all the students at the end of the program shared this hope. Their parents also had this expectation for them. After the program, a majority of the students said they wanted to work in an career in the math or science field. The students chose careers before and after the program, and although the percentage of math and science-specific careers slightly decreased, a decided majority of the students were intent on pursuing such careers. Students learned about the many different applications of math and science, so an explanation of the decrease could be that students found careers that incorporated both math and science and another field of their interest. When asked about study habits, the students showed slight increases in time they planned to spend on studies, although the change was not found to be significant. However, the experience at YSP may increase the quality of study accomplished in the same amount of time. The students' attitudes toward the program were found to be significantly improved. At the end of the program, the students felt that the program was more familiar, and it was a unique experience. These results are reinforced by the data from the post program questionnaire Likert-scale questions. 90% of the students felt their time was well spent at the program. Approximately the same percentage felt that their math and science skills had increased because of the program, and they would recommend this experience to a friend. The students' confidence in their abilities to do mathematics and science was improved by the program, say 86% of the students on the postprogram survey. However, there was a significant change in the students' confidence in themselves as researchers, as shown in the attitudinal survey. Their perception of themselves moved from extraordinary to average. This is perhaps because the students were able to conduct their own research and experience its difficulties. The information from both of these questionnaires supports this theory because the students are still confident in their abilities as math and science students, and 91 % said that they understand the research process better. Therefore, the students remain confident in their abilities but have reached a maturity in the appreciation of scientific research. In addition, the students were able to experience a glimpse at college life and be around highly motivated students like themselves. As the students built their self-confidence in studying mathematics and science they enjoyed themselves. Therefore, the students have gained a unique and positive experience centering around mathematics and science. This unique experience would not have been possible without the Young Scholar Program
  • Notes: Includes bibliographical references.
  • Degree Granted: M.S. Central Connecticut State University 1995
  • OCLC Number: 36314335