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Women's Attitudes Toward Science Shift

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Young women are beginning to shed some of their negative attitudes toward science, according to a study reported recently by a Pennsylvania State University researcher, but the attitudes of their male classmates may continue to influence the young women's behavior.

In a study of 988 Pennsylvania students in grades 10 through 12, James Levin measured the students' attitudes in eight areas.

The findings showed that in three key areas, girls had significantly more positive attitudes than boys. The girls anticipated more success in science; they, more than the boys, tended not to regard science as the province of males; and they believed that teachers regarded them more positively as students of science, according to Mr. Levin.

In addition, the findings showed, 11th graders of both sexes, and those enrolled in "advanced-placement" courses, had the most positive attitudes toward science.

But in spite of young women's shift in attitude, Mr. Levin pointed out that they may still be discouraged by the attitudes of their male classmates, who may regard scientifically inclined girls as "unfeminine."--S.W.

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