Publication Date

2019-08-04

Availability

Embargoed

Embargo Period

2021-08-03

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Psychology (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense

2019-06-24

First Committee Member

Daryl B. Greenfield

Second Committee Member

Rebecca Shearer

Third Committee Member

Batya Elbaum

Abstract

Although children are naturally curious about their world starting at birth, there are already science achievement gaps present as early as kindergarten and are larger for children who come from economically disadvantaged and diverse backgrounds. To date, much effort has focused on better promoting and effectively supporting science in early childhood classrooms. However, policy reports stress the powerful position that parents have in building on their children’s natural interest in science and the need to better understand parental perceptions of science in early childhood. Few studies have examined parents’ attitudes and beliefs towards science for their children, especially within low-income families, partly due to the lack of measurement tools. This study addresses the gap in the literature by developing a self-report measure of preschool parents’ attitudes’ and beliefs towards science for their young children and examines the psychometric properties of the measure using a sample of 276 Head Start parents. Results indicate a two-factor structure for measuring preschool parents’ attitudes and beliefs towards science and provide evidence for adequate reliability. Some evidence of the sensitivity of the measure to detect parents’ prior science experiences was also found. However, findings suggest that further research is needed to assess item difficulty and parent language issues, which could ultimately inform revisions to improve the measure.

Keywords

preschool; parents; attitudes and beliefs; early science

Available for download on Tuesday, August 03, 2021

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