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International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education (2011) 9: 657Y690 ..... produced images of scientists smiling and using new technology devices.

WILLIAM MEDINA-JEREZ, KYNDRA V. MIDDLETON and WALTER ORIHUELA-RABAZA

USING THE DAST-C TO EXPLORE COLOMBIAN AND BOLIVIAN STUDENTS’ IMAGES OF SCIENTISTS Received: 19 August 2009; Accepted: 21 April 2010

ABSTRACT. The way in which students view science and its practitioners, particularly during their late elementary and early secondary grade levels, has been at the core of numerous studies dating back to research by Mead & Metraux (Science 126:384–390, 1957). In this study, we used the Draw-a-Scientist Test Checklist developed by Finson, Beaver & Cramond (Sch Sci Math 95(4):195–205, 1995) to explore and document Colombian and Bolivian students’ perceptions of scientists. Despite the wealth of information from years of study, there is a lack of research on images held by students in Latin American nations. This study involved Colombian and Bolivian students (N = 1,017) in 5th to 11th grades and was aimed at providing an original account of how these students picture scientists and science. Results suggest differences on how students perceive scientists based on nationality, grade and school type. We discuss how features may be associated with educational and socioeconomic status in each school community. KEY WORDS: images, Latin America, perception, school science, scientists

INTRODUCTION It is believed that, by the end of elementary school, students have formed an image about scientists (Schibeci & Sorenson, 1983) which will influence their identification with (Losh, Wilke & Pop, 2008) or against science (Matkins, 1996). These images seem to be related to future career choices (Mason, Butler-Kahle & Gardner, 1991), attitudes toward the study of this subject (Tobin & Fraser, 1987; Finson, et al., 1995) and participation roles in science classrooms (Faye-Neathery, 1997). With very few exceptions (Sala & de Gómezgil, 1975), the bulk of research has centered on assessing students’ images of scientists in school communities from most developed countries (MDCs), particularly the USA (Barman, Ostlund, Gatto & Halferty, 1997; Bodzin & Gehringer, 2001; Farland & McComas, 2008; Faye-Neathery, 1997; Jones & Bangert, 2006; Painter, Jones, Tretter & Kubasko, 2006), Australia and Canada (Chambers, 1983) and Europe (Raty & Snellman, 1997; Reis & Galvão, 2004). Surprisingly and despite the substantial amount of research devoted to this issue, similar research efforts are non-existent in Latin America. There is also a lack of this type of research in other nonInternational Journal of Science and Mathematics Education (2011) 9: 657Y690 # National Science Council, Taiwan (2010)

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Western countries (Song & Kim, 1999). The participation of Latin American countries in the international scientific community has been found to be considerably low (Pineda, 2003); it is in the school classrooms where this phenomenon starts to form. Quiroga (2007) maintains that there are two major factors, family and the schooling process, that influence the interest in and practice of science by students in these countries. Sociocultural issues and traditions are deeply rooted in the family and community structure. High levels of poverty, especially in public schools, place much of the student population in early disadvantage vs. those students coming from more affluent backgrounds. One issue that deserves special attention is the participation of women in science. This perception gains significance in this study due to the predominant role of males in Latin American family and community life, a factor that is somewhat replicated in school, especially in rural and provincial settings. Efforts put forth by institutions such as the Third World Organization for Women in Sciences (TWOWS), the Bolivian Organization for Women in Science (BOWS) and the “2007 Women, Science and Technology Summit” are intended to give girls the tools to become independent learners, which is an essential piece of the model being suggested by these organizations to achieve a more balanced participation of children in science and therefore the consolidation of the scientific disciplines in school classrooms (Quiroga, 2007). If we know that the way in which students depict and view a typical scientist is influenced by their cultural background (Song & Kim, 1999) and that “science conceptions are built on a specific socio-cultural reality” (Reis & Galvão, 2004, p. 1622), then it should be reasonable to consider and contribute to science education practices in less developed countries (LDCs) from a social–cultural standpoint. In terms of the scientific profession and its practitioners, which is the central topic of this manuscript, the participation of Latin Americans in science has been historically small. For instance, while industrialized nations are home to 94% of the world’s scientists, “Latin America contributes only 1% of scientists, of whom only 1% are Colombians” (Pineda, 2003, p. 91). According to the Colombian Observatory of Science and Technology (OCyT), Colombian publications between 1997 and 2004, as reported by the Science Citation Index, accounted for only 2.42% of the database. Bolivia contributed at 0.33% in the region, while Brazil and Mexico showed the highest scholarly productivity with rates of 43.8% and 18.5%, respectively (OCyT, 2004). Given this information, it would be important to shed light on how cultural assumptions affect the images of scientists produced by students from LDCs, which is a missing

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element in previous research (Carlton-Parsons, 1997; Song & Kim, 1999). Considering these factors in times of globalization, this type of research is welcome in the broad sense of an education community (Jones & Bangert, 2006) and especially needed by science educators in Latin America.

THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK Drawings to elicit students’ perceptions about characters in different fields, for instance the Draw-a-Mathematician at Work Test (Picker & Berry, 2000) and the Draw-an-Archaeologist Test (Renoe, 2003), have been found to be valid and reliable instruments to assess students’ intellectual development. The richness of pictorial representations also conveys information about students’ own worlds and feelings with regard to their membership to a given group or discipline. Since images inform us how individuals see the world around them (Knight & Cunningham, 2004), they are appropriate tools for researchers to learn about the sense making process students use in everyday experiences. The study of the images students form about scientists has been the focus of numerous studies in science education research starting with the Mead & Metraux’s (1957) study which was aimed at exploring, through written reports, students’ views on scientists’ personalities and their profession. In 1983, Chambers suggested the Draw-a-Scientist Test (DAST) which has since made the pictorial representation an established tool in the science education research agenda (She, 1998). Building upon Chamber’s (1983) instrument, Finson et al. (1995) developed a checklist to accompany the use of this instrument, producing an enhanced version which they called the Draw-a-Scientist-Test Checklist (DAST-C). The importance of having a checklist is supported by the fact that it brings objectivity to the recording and coding procedures. It also presents researchers with a finite list of stereotypical elements likely to be found in pictorial representations of scientists submitted by students. In addition to the seven stereotypical characteristics (see Table 3) reported by Chambers (1983), the DAST-C suggests an additional feature, alternative images (e.g. indications of danger, presence of light bulbs) which has expanded the scope of the instrument to 15 stereotypical features. Each item in the instrument is rated with either 1 or 0 points depending on the presence or absence of the mentioned features in the checklist. A student’s perception of scientists, as measured with the DAST-C overall rating, is placed along a continuum that depicts the degree of stereotypical quality. An overall

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high score is associated with stereotypical depictions, whereas low ratings indicate less stereotypical images. The effectiveness of the DAST has been demonstrated through numerous studies which have shown consistency in results over years of implementation (Finson et al., 1995; Lunn & Noble, 2008; Monhardt, 2003; Symington & Spurling, 1990). Unlike previous studies that require students to provide a written response, this instrument asks students to complete a drawing of a scientist or scientists. Part of their versatility is that they circumvent difficulties that may arise in terms of language when working with student populations with differing native languages (Schibeci & Sorenson, 1983) or with elementary school students not yet proficient in written responses (Monhardt, 2003). This assessment is also valued as a psychological projective test as students’ pictorial representations may be informative of their self-images and cognitive identification with the world of science (Losh et al., 2008). Nevertheless, some researchers who have expressed their reservations in regards to the objectivity of the test have also proposed modifications. For instance, McComas & Farland (2007) argue that, since students may have more than one image available, it would be more accurate to ask students to complete several drawings of scientists at different times. Along these lines, Symington & Spurling (1990) contend that students’ renditions would convey different images depending on the way the question is presented. They contend that asking students to draw “a scientist or scientists” is different than asking students to complete a drawing of a scientist or scientists that tells the researcher what they [students] know about them. Matkins (1996) addressed this concern by implementing a repeated measure design, that is, collecting a second set of drawings from a student group or grade level. The body of existing knowledge on these types of studies can be divided into two groups. First, a significant number of studies have targeted K-12 student populations. Goals addressed in these types of investigations include the effectiveness of intervention strategies in counteracting stereotypical images of scientists (Bodzin & Gehringer, 2001; Painter et al., 2006), the influence of students’ cultural background like in the case of Native American students (Monhardt, 2003), the relationship between teaching styles and students’ perceptions of scientists (Finson, Pedersen & Thomas, 2006) and the investigation of controversial socioscientific issues with regard to the image students have formed about scientists (Reis & Galvão, 2004). In a second group, there are studies focused mainly on post-secondary student populations. Within this cluster, researchers have investigated pre-service science teachers’

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identities and their perceptions of scientists (Quita, 2003; Rubin & Cohen, 2003), the comparison of perceptions held by science and science education majors about scientists (Rosenthal, 1993) and contrasting drawings produced by college and elementary school students (Thomas, Henley & Snell, 1996). Mixed methods combining pictorial and written responses (Bodzin & Gehringer, 2001; Knight & Cunningham, 2004; Rosenthal, 1993) or pictorial and oral formats (Barman et al., 1997; Carlton-Parsons, 1997) have also been reported in the literature. Origin of Stereotypical Images of Scientists A general standpoint among researchers is that stereotypical images of scientists may arise in part due to science instruction practices (CarltonParsons, 1997; Farland-Smith, Finson, Boone & Yale, 2010; Finson et al., 2006; Rubin & Cohen, 2003). Special attention has been given to teachers’ personal and professional background since it is believed that educators transmit their own views to their students (Matkins, 1996; Moseley & Norris, 1999; Rosenthal, 1993). Subtle teacher–student interactions also impact how students understand scientists’ roles and personalities. An anecdotal case that exemplifies this eventuality occurred in a Colombian school when a student asked his science teacher about the fact that the work of a national scientist (Manuel Patarroyo) known by his work on a vaccine against malaria had not received full recognition of the international scientific community. The teacher replied to the student by saying that Patarroyo had not followed the scientific method and that that was the reason his contributions were not acknowledged (personal communication, February 20, 2008). Not only was a central aspect of the nature of science misrepresented but a teachable moment also passed by without the student learning, for instance, that the media plays a major role in the kind of perceptions citizens create about scientists. The student probably incorporated a disjointed image of the famous scientist—in this case facilitated by an authority figure—as an individual working independently without the support of team members. Others still suggest that negative attitudes about science, particularly in girls, begin to form as early as in second grade (Knight & Cunningham, 2004) and are well established by the age of 9–14 (Skolnick, Langbort & Day, 1982). A second source of image forming comes from TV shows, textbooks, cartoons and movies (Long & Steinke, 1994; Steinke, 1998; Thomas & Hairston, 2003; Türkmen, 2008). However, Thomas & Hairston (2003) warn against attributing the origin of stereotypical images of scientists to a particular source as it may not be accurate; they contend that children learn about science from a variety of sources. Although all

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these sources, especially the media, have contributed to the establishment of a well-known picture that defines the role and personality of scientists, it is necessary to consider other forces that occur in the out-of-school world. For instance, home-related practices such as discussion (or lack of) about scientific careers, overprotecting attitudes of parents about biological issues or family traditions that emphasize traditional feminine behaviors for girls are among some of the reason for the appearance of these perceptions (Baker & Leary, 1995; Campbell, 1991). The description of scientists that persists in the literature presents these individuals as white male Caucasians who work in traditional indoor laboratory settings and wear a lab coat, glasses and carry pens in their pockets. They are sometimes also engaged in violent and secretive behaviors as mad scientists, magicians, miracle workers or even wizards (Barman, 1996; Bodzin & Gehringer, 2001; Long & Steinke, 1994; Quita, 2003; Rubin & Cohen, 2003). In their analysis of images of scientists as portrayed in TV shows, Long & Steinke (1994) found that often times these individuals are also portrayed as omniscient people, elite members of the scientific community and practitioners of a discipline that involves danger and violence, like in the case of the film Jurassic Park. Despite the stereotypical images that have been persistently reported in the literature and contrary to Steinke’s (1998) study, Jones & Bangert (2006) recently reported an interesting trend showing an increased frequency of female scientists in students’ pictorial representations. They attributed this factor to modern TV shows like Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) in which female characters play primary roles in science-related tasks. Thomas et al. (1996) have also reported comparable results. In correspondence with these authors, findings in Barman’s (1997) study show positive changes in students’ perceptions of scientists. For instance, the author found a reduction in the stereotypical characteristics (e.g. old age) commonly associated with traditional perceptions of scientists. Likewise, other features such as the work setting were depicted as nondestructive and non-secretive, indicating possible gains in recent years. Similarly and in agreement with the findings reported in Barman’s (1997) study, Türkmen (2008) reported that Turkish elementary students produced images of scientists smiling and using new technology devices. Likewise, the number of images of scientists wearing glasses and lab coats and engaged in dangerous experiments decreased in this investigation. Images of Scientists in Latin American Students Although the study of the images of scientists held by students in K-12 and even higher education settings has been a fairly common research

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topic, perceptions of students from school communities in Latin American nations have not yet been well described. Interestingly, the only study reported in the literature addressing this kind of investigation in this region dates back to the 1970s. The study in mention was conducted by Sala & de Gómezgil (1975) with over 7,000 Mexican students from both public and private schools. Unlike most studies on this topic, Rodriguez Sala de Gomezgil’s research employed a written format in the form of two questionnaires that mirrored Mead & Metraux’s (1957) study. Here, students were asked to write an essay in response to the following situation: “When I think of a scientist I have in mind the following…” A second prompt presented the student with this situation: “If I were ever a scientist I would like to do the following… as was the case of (name of the scientist whose life and work were, in your opinion, very interesting” (p. 355). The second questionnaire employed a 31-item semantic scale that included concepts to be assessed and a series of elements by which the concepts could be expressed. The concept list included occupations such as being a scientist, and among the elements, there were adjectives that students could use to characterize the selected occupations. A combination of the results from the two questionnaires led to an integrated image of both science and scientists. An initial finding in this study indicates that both female and male Mexican students, without age and grade level distinction, possess images of scientists characterized as both positive (i.e. intellectual characteristics) and negative (i.e. personality traits). The author contends that overall, students prefer psychological and social characteristics over physical features to describe their images of scientists. According to this study, Mexican students envision scientists as individuals with good memory, active and creative. They also depicted them as having a shared culture, manual dexterity and analytical skills. In quoting this author, we adhere to her point that “given the tremendous development that science and technology have undergone in the past few years, and the intense rhythm with which they continue to evolve” (Sala & de Gómezgil, 1975, p. 360), we propose that it is imperative to attend to this kind of investigation in LDCs hoping to keep up with global demands. This includes the educational programs and services offered to students. Due to the lack of research addressing this issue in Latin America, the primary goal of this study is to provide an original account of the sort of images students from two Latin American countries have of scientists. From this overarching goal, this study attempts to answer the following research question: How do nationality, gender, grade level and school type influence Colombian and Bolivian students’ images of scientists?

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METHODOLOGY As a preliminary note to methodology, it is important to point out that the first and third authors are natives to Colombia and Bolivia. They worked to secure site collaboration, procedural fidelity and data coding as the cultural and linguistic experts of the study. The first author taught high school science for over 9 years in urban Colombia in both public and private settings. The third author currently teaches high school science in an inner-city public school in La Paz, Bolivia. Sample This study was conducted in two countries (Colombia and Bolivia), the participating students (N = 1,017) attended public (50.4%) and private schools (49.6%). The Colombian sample comprised both public and private schools; in the case of the Bolivian sample, it only contained public schools. Private schools in this country that were contacted declined to participate. With the exception of a provincial school, data collected in Colombia came from schools in three relatively large cities including the country capitol (Table 1). As for the participating Bolivian schools, all of them are inner-city institutions in the country capitol city (Table 2). The Schools and Their Communities Colombia. This country is located in the northeastern region of South America and bordered by Venezuela, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, Panama and by the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean. With a population of nearly 50 million people, Colombia is the second largest populated country in South America, after Brazil. Colombia is also very ethnically diverse, with the majority of its population being mestizo (of European and Indigenous ancestry). Other ethnic groups include white, AfricanColombian, indigenous and a population of mixed black and white ancestry. The majority of the urban centers are located in the highlands of the Andes mountains (coffee region); the Colombian territory also encompasses the Amazon rainforest, tropical grasslands, deserts and both Caribbean and Pacific coastlines. In the 2009 Human Development Index (HDI), Colombia ranked 77th out of 182 countries with respect to human development; this is a composite measure of three dimensions of human development: longevity, access to education and a decent standard of living. Considered within this ranking, Colombia is placed 73rd (72.7 years in life expectancy) and 59th

Female students 0 58 Male students 0 68

6

6

29

Private

22

Public

Public

Private

Grade 6

Grade 5

0

0

Public

Grade 7

19

16

Private

13

54

Public

Grade 8

0

0

Private

13

116

Public

Grade 9

6

8

Private

76

21

Public

Grade 10

Colombian student population by gender, grade and school (n = 640)

TABLE 1

57

21

Private

0

0

Public

Grade 11

27

6

Private

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TABLE 2 Bolivian student population by gender and grade (public schools only; n = 377) Female

Male

Grade

6th

7th

8th

9th

10th

11th

6th

7th

8th

9th

10th

11th

Students

23

43

39

23

28

17

22

55

60

18

35

14

(92.7%) in adult literacy among 182 countries. In terms of education, basic education is compulsory. It consists of two levels: primary basic, which goes from 1st to 5th grade, and secondary basic education, which goes from 6th to 9th grade. Basic education is followed by middle vocational education that comprises 10th and 11th grade. The participating Colombian schools serve students from varying socioeconomic status (SES). Three schools operate under a religious agenda including the provincial school, and only one school offers a military emphasis. One school serves low-income families, one more is characterized as mid-low SES school, four schools serve students from mid-SES, one is in mid-upper level and two more (private) enroll students from high SES. The three schools with religious orientation and the inner-city school are located in the eastern range of the Colombian Andes. As for the setting, the rural regions provide their residents with excellent lands for agricultural vocation, being coffee, bananas, sugar cane and vegetables the main products. In the urban zone, families make their living on informal businesses, such as neighborhood stores, cafeterias, billiards, bakeries and restaurants, or as employees of the agrarian bank, the National Federation of Coffee Growers, the National Ministry of Agriculture, National Police, teachers and farmers, or as day laborers. This is a typical setting of small provincial communities in the Andean region of the country. The other religious schools are located in the two city capitols of two neighboring states. The urban setting of these schools is in a region with historical tradition. One of these cities was a prominent center in the times of the independence. Because of its geographical position, this region is as an obligated destination in the transit to and from the neighboring country, Venezuela. The main work of its residents is as merchants, being the hub of the Colombian shoe industry. Due to its location, most small grocery stores smuggle their items from the neighboring country. Recently, because of gasoline prices, which are better across the border, a black market has been created and appears as the means upon which many low-income families make their living. A

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local journalist defines the residents of this city as happy, cheerful people; “they are both envious and generous depending on their feelings; hard workers, industrialists, merchants by need; attached to their families, sincere and respectful, and above all honest and with a great sense of humor.” (La Opinión, 2004, p.5). As for the private military school, it is located in the country capitol and was named after a hero of the independence movement. Although the school is under the direction of an academic principal, there are also military personnel performing training duties they call internal regime. Besides the common national curricula implemented in this school, there are also other subjects that are intended to promote a military vocation among students who, for the most part, come from families with military tradition. The military instruction in the school is complemented with physical training that takes place outside the school on a weekly basis. The school’s philosophical orientation points out the necessity to educate citizens with the values necessary to make them autonomous and capable of building a “culture of peace”. It is important to note that, as additional attractive feature, those students who finish their secondary education in this school will not have to serve the 1-year requirement in the military forces of the country upon graduation, as it is obligatory for all other males in any other public and private school. In the case of the two private schools serving student populations from high SES, one of them is in the country capitol and the other one in a state capitol on the north east part of the country. In both cases, families pay high tuitions that correspond with the attractive school facilities and programs (e.g. intensive English instruction) offered at these institutions. The school in the national capitol city has tied with a British university; students in this school are rapidly enculturated into a foreign education style that meets the academic requirements for college entrance overseas. The other private school in this category serves students from influential families and offers a country-like facility with an academic emphasis in English. Although this is a fairly new school, it has already achieved an important status within prestigious group of schools in this city. In the same city is one of the religious, public, only female school. Students attending this school are from middle SES. The facilities are new and the emphasis is in the preparation of students for successful tertiary education, as measured by the national standardized test for high school seniors (ICFES test). As for the Colombian school curriculum, science educators must teach in compliance with the national curriculum. That is, they teach science subjects in accordance with a national program that is differentiated by discipline and grade levels and by the newly adopted National Science

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Education Standards that serve as benchmarks within the national curriculum. A distinguishing feature of the science teaching and learning in Colombia is that goals are score-oriented. A high performance on the national standardized test is widely recognized and discussed as an “urgent need” among science educators, academic coordinators and even high school principals. Mr. Molina, a school principal recently appointed in his position, is feeling confident about the achievements his school will accomplish under his administration. For this year, we signed a contract with PC Group Inc. We are going to consult with them, so we are hoping to increase our scores even more. Last year, we had our students trained [for the national test] by Educativa Group Inc., and we did not do so well. Now, we have changed to the PC Group Inc. because they are the best in the country. Thank God we have reached a good agreement with this organization, plus Mr. Blanco, the owner of this company, is one of my very best friends, so it worked out really well.

On his part, Mr. Lopez, a school administrator from a private–Catholic school, is also concerned with the overall performance of his students in the most recent examinations. The dissatisfaction with the scores has caused the school administrators to conduct an analysis of the situation. As a result, two possible explanations are circulating, as Mr. Lopez claims: It could have been that we hired a new science teacher this year to take care of the chemistry classes. The other explanation could be found in the students’ attitude, their apathy and lack of enthusiasm. Another cause is the ‘culture of the minimal effort’, they [students] are satisfied just with a passing grade.

The results show that the performance declined in areas such as chemistry, physics and biology. In this school, the emphasis is in science, a reason for them [school administrators] to feel disappointed. The management of the school curriculum in this school is also influenced by the preparation of students for standardized tests, which have caused a re-organization of the program of studies that focuses on rearranging the academic load of the “most and less significant areas”. In addition, students in this school are also placed on a supplemental training for the national examinations. As a “proactive measure”, Mr. Lopez explains that, for this year, the school is planning on having its 10th grade students (junior students) also take weekend workshops with PC Group Inc. He also points out that the practice tests will be internally implemented to imitate the format of the national standardized test. Bolivia. The traditional notion that foreigners may have about Bolivia focuses on “media portrayals of the cocaine trade and a vague awareness

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of Indians and llamas” (Luykx, 1999, p. xi) and on political differences with the USA associated with internal violence issues in the northern states. Bolivia is much more; it is a multi-ethnic and a multi-lingual country. While 60% of the people speak Spanish, since 1999, the government has also recognized Quechua, Aymara and Guaraní and over 33 other indigenous languages. This country also has a great geographical diversity, including the Andes Mountains, the altiplano (Plateau region), the pampas (plains) and the Amazon Basin jungle. Bolivia still maintains one of the highest poverty rates in Latin America. Taking into account income rates, 63% of Bolivians are poor, an indicator that is well above that of the region, which is 36% (Contreras & Talavera-Simoni, 2003). In the 2009 Human Development Index (HDI), Bolivia ranks 113th out of 182 countries with respect to the human development. Within this ranking, Bolivia is placed 123rd (65.4 years in life expectancy) and 67th (90.7%) in adult literacy among 182 countries. In terms of education, there are some disparities between rural and urban populations as measured by illiteracy rates. For instance, while the 2001 illiteracy rate for urban males was 2.5%, it was four times greater for urban women (10.1%) and 15 times greater for rural women (37.9%). There are also disparities in academic achievement between rural and urban schools. The 1998 national surveys of academic achievement showed that academic performance was consistently higher in urban schools than in rural schools as students progressed from 3rd to 8th grades (Contreras & Talavera-Simoni, 2003). The Bolivian sample consists of public schools only. The six participating Bolivian schools serve a student population that is characterized as being of low SES. None of these schools have a science laboratory; students usually carry out their practical science activities in the classroom with materials that both teachers and students bring from home. As indicated in previous sections, private schools declined to allow their students participate in this study without giving specific reasons for their decision. Bolivian students in this study attend inner-city schools in the city of La Paz, the country capitol. Students attend school either in the morning or afternoon shifts, a measured that seeks to provide coverage of this service. Unlike the Colombian education system, Bolivian schools do not have a national set of standards to implement. In their place, school instruction follows the Four National Transversal Areas for School Instruction: gender, environmental education, democracy and health and sexuality. By the early 1990s, The World Bank described the Bolivian education system as (1) suffering from a weak administration, (2) excluding the primary beneficiaries from the decision making processes, (3) having a

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poor coverage and quality, (4) practicing an inappropriate management of resources for public education and (5) dealing with obstacles for educational attainment (i.e. teacher preparation, attention to nonspeaking Spanish populations; Contreras & Talavera-Simoni, 2003). By 1994, the Education Reform Law came into place. It was an effort to address the aforementioned deficiencies in the education system of the country. The reform introduced a constructivist approach centered on active learning, bilingual and intercultural education, a new grade level structure, testing to measure academic achievement in the 12,000 schools of the education system and the expansion of the teaching profession to practitioners in other professional fields. The Colombian students participating in this study were enrolled in biology and chemistry classes. From the total sample, 21.6% of the students were in their last grade of elementary school (5th grade), 27.4% in middle high school and the remaining 50.9% in high school grade levels. In the case of the Bolivian sample, 65.1% of the student sample was drawn from middle grade levels, and 34.8% represented high school grade levels. Procedure First, the DAST-C was presented to the teachers with instructions on the proper way to administer this instrument in their classes. For instance, they were cautioned not to share with their students details about the study so their depictions were not affected during the presentation of the task. Second, students were encouraged to produce a drawing of a scientist or scientists on the form handed out by the teacher. Special attention was given to the presentation of the task in order to address Symington & Spurling’s (1990) suggestions in regard to the veracity of students’ perceptions of scientists. The form presented students with the following instruction: “In the space provided below, complete the drawing of a scientist or scientists by using the knowledge you have about these people or about the work they do.” Students were not timed while completing their drawing; they were told to use as much time as needed. Another method to ensure the accuracy of the images, as suggested by Matkins (1996) and McComas & Farland (2007), was to randomly select a second set of drawings from the original sample. The intention of this confirmatory approach was to verify that the initial submission of drawings were reliable measures of the true perceptions students possess about scientists. A total of 175 students produced a second drawing; this second set was again rated using the DAST-C by the

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same two evaluators and used as a within-subject repeated measures comparison to the first drawing. The amount of time between drawings one and two ranged from 8 to 10 months. Upon a first inspection of both sets of drawings, it was noted that the “table height” and “amount of space used in each drawing” features seemed different, especially in the drawings submitted by the Bolivian students. This is the reason for performing this secondary analysis which emerged only after the reception of the data set. Prior to the coding of the drawings and in an attempt to elucidate potential disagreements when assessing the 15 indicators in the test, both the principal investigator and his research assistant discussed the use to be given to the checklist accompanying the DAST. It was also part of this discussion to reach a consensus on particular features such as the age of the scientist and presence of lab coat, as there was, in some cases, certain degree of inaccuracy in their depictions. The convenience in the use of the checklist resides in its practicality by presenting the evaluator with a precise set of the stereotypical and alternative features (see Table 3) likely to be found in drawings of scientists. When scoring a DAST drawing, the rater codes each indicator with either 1 or 0 points depending on the presence or absence of the feature under examination in the checklist. In the scoring sheet, the rater submits subtotals for each of the two sets of features (stereotypical and alternative). As part of the coding procedure, the rater also makes notations in case information such as scientists working in collaboration or a female scientist who plays a primary or secondary role is portrayed in the drawing. The final score (0 –15) for each drawing results from adding the stereotypical and alternative subtotals. It is assumed that a high score correspond with a stereotypical image of scientists whereas a low score coveys a less stereotypical view.

DATA ANALYSIS During the analysis stage, each student’s drawing was subject to the quantification of stereotypic characteristics based on the checklist suggested by Finson et al. (1995). A parallel analysis was also applied to each drawing in order to collect additional information regarding features not addressed in the checklist (e.g. role played by male and female scientists depicted in the drawing). This secondary analysis provided supporting information that was useful during the interpretation of results. Two features were considered within this analysis category: the height of the lab tables and the space used by each student to complete the

2

4

5

6

7

9

Alternative views

8

10

11

15.60 (44) 14.70 (14) 21.10 (91) 32.85 (68)

78.30 (221) 72.60 (69)

77.10 (330) 81.64 (169) 14.50 (30)

20.30 (87)

32.60 (31)

21.90 (62)

17.50 (75) 19.32 (40)

49.60 (14) 22.10 (21) 79.70 (341) 92.75 (192)

89.00 (251) 87.30 (83) 93.90 (402) 93.72 (194)

90.70 (256) 90.50 (86)

7.73 (16)

1.63 (7)

3.15 (3)

2.12 (6)

13

9.18 (19) 9.66 (20)

81.50 (349) 1.45 (3) 85.99 (178)

0 (0)

15

5.33 1.83

5.23 1.77

Mean SD

74.30 (154) 6.87 1.77

50.90 (218) 5.98 1.96

15.70 (15)

11.30 (32)

Work Middle indoors age/elderly

14

2.12 (2) 89.70 (253) 13.60 (13) 0 (0) 73.60 (70)

6.02 (17)

Mythic Ind. of stereotypes secrecy

12

4.20 (18) 7.94 (34)

0 (0)

1.41 (4)

Facial Research Knowledge Relevant Male Indications Light hair symbols symbols Technology captions gender Caucasian of danger bulbs

3

Bolivian students (n = 377) Lower grades, 50.70 36.50 25.10 6–9 (n = 283) (143) (103) (71) Upper grades, 42.60 27.30 33.60 10–11 (n = 94) (43) (26) (32) Colombian students (n = 640) Lower grades, 60.90 51.10 24.90 5–9 (n = 434) (261) (220) (126) Upper grades, 74.80 59.40 28.99 10–11 (n = 207) (155) (123) (60)

Eye Lab coat glasses

Stereotypical views

1

DAST-C indicator

TABLE 3

Distribution percentage of indicators per grade level per country [frequency (%) of students (N = 1,017)]

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drawing. In the later case, we divided the space provided into four quadrants a way to quantify the amount of space employed in each depiction. The initial coding procedure was conducted by the principal investigator and his assistant. They both completed the coding for each set of drawings; when inconsistencies appeared, they were resolved through brief discussions between the two evaluators. Efforts were also made to prevent coding discrepancies by retraining for overall inter-rater agreement greater than 80% on the standards applied to judge features that could involve variability; this approach was especially useful in cases when discerning stereotypical characteristics that did not clearly meet the condition under consideration. For instance, in the case of the “lab coat” feature, the evaluators agreed that it could be determined as present only if the scientist was wearing a lab coat-like piece of clothing, falling past the waist and secured with buttons on the front. Two more features retrained by the two coders was the meaning given to the presence/absence of light bulbs. It was observed that, in these countries (LDCs), students used a “question mark” over the head of the scientist to indicate an idea that the scientist is pondering in his mind and the “elderly scientist” based on the presence of facial wrinkles and/or declining stature. It is also important to note that the DAST-C was designed to be used with student populations in MDCs, and as such, it does not take into account ethnic groups outside the Western society. Although the Caucasian group is originally used for the DAST-C, the term is not employed in the Bolivian and Colombian communities. Therefore, the coders adjusted the ethnic terms students could depict in their drawings based on a white and non-white binary distinction. For the students in this study, these distinctions included white (light skin, mestizo or from European and Amerindian ancestry) or non-white (African-Colombian/ Bolivian, mulato and indigenous ethnicities).

RESULTS Overall Perceptions of Scientists by Bolivian and Colombian Students As stated in the “INTRODUCTION” section, the purpose of this study was to explore Bolivian and Colombian students’ perceptions of scientists and provide an original account of the images they possess. Table 3 presents the distribution of the indicators by grade level for each country. In general, Bolivian students’ produced images of scientists that represent

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these individuals as white (87.3%) males, conducting experiments indoors (85.0%), wearing lab coats (55.0%) and glasses (33.6%). Similarly, the Colombian students reported in their drawing images of scientists as white (92.6%) males, performing experiments indoors (81.9%); they also wear lab coats (64.6%) and glasses (53.3%). However, unlike their Bolivian counterparts, Colombian students have an image of scientists as individuals of middle and elderly age (57.8%). Both groups of students (Bolivia and Colombia) view scientists working in their labs, performing experiments in which they mainly used flasks (41.9% Bolivian students; 45.1% Colombian students) and test tubes (33.5% of Bolivian students; 27.4% of Colombian students). As for the gender of the depicted scientist, 85.23% of Bolivian students included male scientists in their depictions while 78.0% of Colombian students chose male characters to represent these individuals. Regarding the presence of women in the drawings, 9.49% of Colombian students drew female scientists while 6.04% of Bolivian students depicted scientists as females. Students also included both male and female figures in their depictions; 2.35% of Bolivian students drew males and females while 4.82% of Colombian students depicted scientists as both males and females. Non-human figures were also featured. In this case, 2.33% of Bolivian students included figures with unrecognizable gender vs. 2.68% of Colombian students (Table 4). Other Indicators In addition to the 15 elements in the DAST-C, other drawing features surfaced throughout the scoring procedure. These features are not commonly addressed in the analysis of students’ drawings in previous studies, but in this case, we considered them worth exploring due to the significance they might add to the overall understanding of the submitted TABLE 4 Distribution (percent) of male and female scientists in drawings Gender Female Male Female and male Undetermined No human figure

Bolivian students

Colombian students

6.04 85.23 2.35 5.28 2.33

9.49 78.07 4.82 3.69 2.68

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drawings. The list of “other indicators” include scientists working in teams, the depiction of the table as a basic element in the lab setting, the wearing of lab coats and the amount of space and detail employed in each depiction. Although the frequency of the teamwork feature included in the drawings was small in comparison with the depiction of male scientists, it stood out as a difference between the two student samples. For instance, a much higher percentage of Colombian students (16.4%) drew scientists working in teams as compared to their Bolivian counterparts, where only 6.05% represented this trait. Within this set of drawings, half of the Colombian depictions included women as members of the group of scientists. In most of these renditions, students drew women standing next to the male scientist who appears conducting the experiment, or working in a corner of the room, receiving instructions from the male scientist or being supervised by him or staying in the lab while her male colleague works outdoors. There was the case of a drawing in which the female scientist was assigned the caption “apprentice” while the male was called “scientist”. Bolivian students drew a small number of scientists working in teams. In this case, female members were represented as assistants of the male scientist; they were standing behind or next to him, or even carrying out objects around the laboratory. As for the depiction of the tables in the drawing space, the number and position of this element in relation to the scientist became consistent in a way that reflected some differences between the two groups (Bolivia and Colombia). In this case, we coded for two sub-categories: single and low table. We were interested in the representation of the table as an element that could reveal students’ perceptions of the physical context of the science laboratory. Some differences were found. While 21.4% of Colombian students’ drawings contained only one table, over twice as many of the Bolivian drawings (43.9%) conveyed the same feature. The frequency for the low table feature indicates that 13.8% of the Colombian students drew tables that were below the waist of the scientist standing next to it, compared to 32.6% of Bolivian students. Additionally, the height of the table was compared to the height of the figure of the scientist drew in the picture. The appearance of the table in the lab setting was another interesting element. It was noted that some students drew tables which were considerably small as compared to the stature of the scientist. It was also observed that, when students drew small tables, they did not include other objects around the lab setting, conveying an image that was poor in detail. Although there were no significant differences in the ratio of scientist’s height to table height in the country and grade level

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variables, there was a difference in the ratio based on gender (F = 5.18, p = 0.02), with the female ratio being higher than the male ratio (5.41 and 4.71, respectively). Females tended to draw shorter tables in relation to the scientists’ heights (Tables 5 and 6). During the presentation of the task, students were instructed to use the space within the square to draw their pictures. By dividing the square into four quadrants, it was noticed that 31.2% of Bolivian students employed all four quadrants, 30.5% used three quadrants, 29.9% used two and 14.3% used only one. In the Colombian group, 46.8% completed their drawings within the four quadrants, 24.5% of the students used three quadrants, 18.8% used two and 9.6% used only one. Regarding the wearing of a lab coat, 28.0% of the Colombian students depicted scientists wearing a piece of clothing other than a lab coat, while 49.2% of Bolivian students drew scientists not wearing a lab coat. From this set of drawings, 17.4% of Colombian students drew scientists wearing short sleeve shirts, compared to 0.5% of Bolivian students. Another difference was related to the research instruments placed on or around the table. The most common research instruments in both samples were flasks, test tubes, microscope, beakers and Erlenmeyer flasks. Nevertheless, the variety of drawn research instruments was greater for the Colombian sample. The following materials were observed in the drawings by the Colombian students only: safety wash bottles, separatory funnels, flask brushes, filing cabinets and goggles. The “symbols of knowledge” indicator was among the lowest rated stereotypical features. In the case of the Colombian group, 24.7% of the students added knowledge symbols to their depictions of scientists, whereas 15.1% of the Bolivian students drew the same feature in their depictions. In the Bolivian sample, this category was the second lowest rated stereotypical

TABLE 5 Scientist’s height vs. table’s height (centimeters) by country and grade level

Lower grades Upper grades Overall

Bolivia

Colombia

(n = 117)

(n = 97)

Mean

SD

Mean

SD

13.50 12.03 13.25

6.35 5.08 6.14

12.36 11.17 12.09

5.76 4.67 5.51

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TABLE 6 Scientist’s height v. table’s height (centimeters) by gender Females (n = 93)

Males (n = 121)

Overall

Mean

SD

Mean

SD

Mean

SD

13.74

6.07

11.96

5.66

12.80

5.89

feature. There was no great variety in the representation of this feature; the most common symbols of knowledge observed in both Colombian and Bolivian drawings were as follows: pens in pockets and books on shelves and in small proportion clipboards on the table. Comparison Between Bolivia and Colombia Analysis of variance tests were performed to determine whether there was a difference between the sample means of the countries based on gender and grade levels (6–9 and 10–11). Additionally, female students’ perceptions were examined separately since stereotypically, science is a male-dominate field, and the authors wished to focus more attention on female responses as a result. The rationale for dividing grade levels into two groups (lower and upper) is based on the mandatory curricular content assigned to each grade level. For instance, the lower grade curriculum contains courses that progress along these years without much change other than in the complexity of the content being covered. In the case of biology, students take this course in every year of their secondary school, except in the upper grade levels. The same occurs with the other subject content areas. Once in the upper grade levels, students encounter a fairly new curricular program with new subjects such as chemistry and philosophy. Students also have a chance to select an academic track that emphasizes different disciplines (e.g. business) or vocational options (e.g. mechanics). Therefore, it is our belief that this division in the depth of the content and training areas may have an effect in the overall image students form at each of the two stages of high school grade levels. For each of the tests of significance, an alpha of 0.05 was set. The main effects of country (F = 71.63, p G 0.0001) and grade level (F = 12.68, p = 0.0009) were each statistically significant when the countries were combined. The Colombian students (M = 6.27) produced more stereotypical images than the Bolivian students (M = 5.25). It should be noted that students in upper grades produced more stereotypical images than

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their lower grade counterparts (M = 6.39 and M = 5.68, respectively). However, although the upper grade produced more stereotypical images than the lower grades in both Bolivia and Colombia, this result was not statistically significant across countries, as will be seen below. When examined for an interaction effect between country and grade level, the effect was statistically significant (F = 7.77, p = 0.0081). Bolivian students produced depictions that contained similar levels of stereotypical images in upper and lower grades, but Colombian students, however, drew more stereotypical images in upper grades than in lower grades (Figure 1; Table 7). This interaction means that a student’s score on the DAST-C cannot be modeled by only knowing the student’s nationality. The additional variable of grade level must be included. Analyses by Country Bolivia. In the Bolivian sample, neither of the tests of main effects nor the test for interaction was statistically significant. Thus, it appears that the Bolivian students’ drawings of stereotypical images were not influenced by gender or grade level (F = 0.67, p = 0.62; F = 0.26, p = 0.61, respectively; Table 8). Interestingly, the variables of gender and grade level did not really explain the differences in level of stereotypical images drawn at all (R2 = 0.0031). Thus, there are variables other than gender and grade

Figure 1. Country vs. grade level interaction

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TABLE 7 Descriptive statistics for stereotypical images total by country and grade level Country Bolivia

Colombia

Grade level

n

Mean

SD

n

Mean

SD

Lower (6th–9th) Upper (10th–11th)

283 94

5.23 5.33

1.77 1.83

427 207

5.98 6.87

1.96 1.77

level that should be examined to explain the differences in level of stereotypical images drawn. Colombia. Unlike the Bolivian sample, the Colombian sample contained students from both public and private schools, therefore so we have an added variable for this sample, school type. In the Colombian sample, there was a main effect for grade level and school type. Students in the lower grades submitted images that were less stereotypical than students in the upper grades (F = 19.78, p G 0.0001), and students educated in private schools produced images that were less stereotypical that students educated in public schools (F = 4.55, p = 0.03). There was no statistically significant interaction between gender, grade level, and school type (Table 9). In the Colombian sample, the variables of gender and grade level explained about 4.8% of the differences in level of stereotypical images drawn. The addition of school type added an additional 1.5% so R2 = 0.063 in this sample. This was somewhat better than the amount of variance explained in the Bolivian sample. However, additional variables TABLE 8 Descriptive statistics for the Bolivian sample Gender Female

Male

Grade level

n

Mean

SD

n

Mean

SD

Lower (6th–9th) Upper (10th–11th)

128 45

5.13 5.24

1.93 1.69

155 49

5.31 5.41

1.63 1.97

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TABLE 9 Descriptive statistics for the Colombian sample Gender Female

Male

School type

Public

Private

Public

Private

Grade level

n

n

n

n

Lower 192 (6th–9th) Upper 21 (10th–11th)

Mean SD

Mean SD

Mean SD

Mean SD

6.19

1.95 87

5.66

1.89 49

6.43

1.58 76

6.91

1.80

6.95

1.53 26

6.38

1.92 99

5.65

2.13 84

6.96

1.75

that could potentially explain the difference in stereotypical images drawn should be examined in this country as well. Female Sample In the sample data that included only females, there was no interaction effect between country and grade level related to stereotypical images drawn. Through examining the main effects in the female-only sample, we found the effect of country to be statistically significant, with the Bolivian sample producing images that were less stereotypical than the Colombian sample (F = 25.82, p G 0.0001). These results were in line with the results from the sample that included both females and males. No interaction was found between country, grade level and school type. In the female sample, 7.3% of the difference in level of stereotypical images could be explained by the country and grade level variables. Repeated Measures Analyses To examine whether students’ perceptions of scientists changed over a period of time, a repeated measures analysis was used to assess the images drawn by 175 students from both countries. The amount of time between drawings ranged from 8 to 10 months. There were no interactions of time vs. country, time vs. gender or time vs. grade level. These results show that the students’ drawings were able to be modeled using only one variable instead of requiring the additional variable of time to model the differences. There was not a significant main effect of time

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which means overall students did not significantly change their perceptions between time 1 and time 2. The results of the test–retest analysis were moderately reliable with α= 0.62. Additionally, the score from time 1 was correlated 0.45 with the score from time 2 which was statistically significant (p G 0.0001). As such, the results of the responses between time 1 and time 2 were reliable, and students were fairly consistent in the level of stereotypical images drawn across Time. Lastly, Bolivian students drew items that were slightly less stereotypical the second time around (time 1: M = 5.16; time 2: M = 5.08), but Colombian students drew items that were quite a bit less stereotypical the second time around (time 1: M = 7.12; time 2: M = 5.57). This decrease in level of stereotypical images drawn may have been due to an increase in awareness of science and of the different images of scientists. However, the actual causation of this decrease is a topic for a future study.

DISCUSSION Based on the results, it appears that the Colombian students have more stereotypical thinking of scientists than the Bolivians. While the Colombian sample included students from low through high socioeconomic status attending both public and private schools, the Bolivian sample was comprised of students from low socioeconomic status and from public schools only. This could be thought to influence the type of images students possess. In general, it could be suggested that students exposed to a comprehensive practice of science in their schools may become more acquainted with the nature of the scientific endeavor. Students who are rarely exposed in their classes to the study of nature that transcends beyond the school walls may have a less-informed view on the topic. Although drawings depicting a scientist wearing regular clothing can be seen as a positive sign, in the case of Bolivian students, it is more likely related to a lack of resources and opportunities in meaningful science learning. Thus, less stereotypicality in DAST-C scoring should be interpreted with caution. For example, contrary to the Colombian population, nearly half of the Bolivian students drew a single low table in their depictions with few additional details. In Bolivian schools, the arrangement of each classroom shows pairs of students sharing a single long table. The fact that Bolivian students drew single and low lab tables could be indicative of their familiarity with the only science lab setting they have available in their schools, their classroom. Another important characteristic in the Bolivian students’ renditions was related to the lab

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coat element. Almost half of the Bolivian student sample (49.2%) drew scientists without lab coats; some even drew themselves as the scientist wearing traditional school uniforms. In this case, it could be argued that low stereotypical ratings may be related to limiting socioeconomic factors affecting their science learning. In her study, Monhardt (2003) reported this trend in a similar investigation with a Navajo student population in the USA. As mentioned early, the access to and participation of women in science in Latin American schools has been the focus of events put together by non-profit organization in the region (Quiroga, 2007). It is important to recognize the efforts of organizations such as the TWOWS and the BOWS in creating awareness of this issue in their school communities and also in providing schools with guidelines, especially in the public sector from rural communities, on how to offer their teachers and students, an enhanced vision of the science education experience that is inclusive and relevant. As a result of the work done at these events, a series of sociocultural features have been identified as the focus of the measures that should continue to be discussed and practiced. For instance, the “2007 Women, Science, and Technology Summit” identified 11 key elements that are thought to prevent students from these school communities to enjoy of a meaningful science education experience; these factors include cultural attitudes and gender stereotypes, more education opportunities for boys, especially in rural communities, high levels of poverty, the perception that parents have on the so-called hard core school subjects (e.g. mathematics, physics, chemistry), collegebound tests, the rigid view of science as transmitted by textbooks and teacher’s discourse and the outdated instructional approaches practiced in K-11 school classrooms. Three of the abovementioned issues (gender stereotypes, prominent roles boys play during classroom instruction and poverty) were evident in the pictorial reports on scientists and science submitted by the students in this study. First, the vast majority of students in the two samples perceived science as a male-dominated discipline. A low proportion of students, however, included women in their depictions. When female scientists were included in the drawings, in all cases, they were assigned secondary roles (e.g. holding a research instrument as the male scientist performs the experiment, carrying out materials around the lab) or simply standing on a corner of the lab or next to the male scientist. In a particular case, the student added captions to each character, “apprentice” to the female and “scientist” to the male one. Second, the lack of physical and human resources in public and rural schools may have also contributed to

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the disjointed view students may possess about science and scientists. This is the case of the Bolivian student sample which consisted of innercity schools only. Although the practice of science does not necessarily take place in laboratories, it is important to mention that schools in the Bolivian sample lack these facilities. From teachers’ reports and video lessons, it is observed that classroom instruction revolves around the teacher’s discourse with occasional cooperative learning. These images were prevalent in the drawings completed by the Bolivian students; most of them drew themselves as scientists, wearing their school uniforms and working at their desks. Their depictions, as judged by amount of space used, were brief and did not include the typical science lab format observed in these types of renditions found in the literature with other student populations around the globe. A similar pattern was observed in the Colombian inner-city school. Although students in this school have a small laboratory classroom, it is seldomly used due to the number of students in each grade. A group of students from 7th grade in this school turned in their drawing forms empty; when inquired about their response, they submitted that they did not know what a scientist look like. In other public schools although lab facilities would allow for more periodic laboratory-based lessons, their teachers alluded to the demanding task of putting together a lab activity for their students. Furthermore, the preparation of students for standardized examinations seems to be goal governing instruction in these schools. One of these teachers submitted: The problem is putting the theory into practice, too much theory, but too little practice. Here, in our school, our labs are completely obsolete, especially in biology… I try to do all the lab experiences that come in the textbook, creating new activities is something that one would not do, it would be like improvising. New findings in science are rarely included. Rather we follow what the textbook already has.

At the other side of continuum are private and some public schools where families, especially from high income levels, and their children can afford a higher education quality. For instance, students at the private school in the city capitol receive bilingual instruction (Spanish and English) in most subjects, conduct year-long investigations in conjunction with environmental agencies and publish their papers in a science journal they have created. The view of science and scientists in this and other schools where students participate in science activities that promote curiosity, collaborative work, community projects based on authentic investigations seem to be more comprehensive. Students in these schools included a higher proportion of women in their depictions, scientists

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working in collaboration and scientists working on their projects outdoors. The perception of science and scientists submitted by s students in schools such as the military and the urban catholic school did not differ as much from the traditional view of scientist (white, male individual doing science indoors). One of the major findings in this study, contrary to other research (Koren & Bar, 2009; Long & Steinke, 1994), is the lack of overt stereotyping. For example, DAST-C scores for the element of mythic stereotypes (e.g. mad-Frankenstein figure) did not rank among the highest four features. Science and scientists, for these students, may still be a discipline perceived with a positive ingenuous attitude. Although the presence of females in the depictions was favorable, the secondary role assigned to them in the drawings is still a concern that should be the target of improvement. Educators interested in addressing this issue, however, should be informed by cultural traditions such as the roles played by women in their communities which may be perpetuated in school. As for the type of school attended, more stereotypical images were produced by students in public schools than for the students at private institutions. Most private schools in the Colombian sample, for instance, have science lab facilities that support local and national science projects (e.g. the Waves Project). In these schools, students have opportunities to design and carry out year-long projects in the school surroundings that finalize as a publication in the school’s scientific journal; interdisciplinary connections are also made to practice writing and oral skills as students execute their projects (e.g. a survey of the flora being affected by deforestation and sprawling). In their study, Jimenez & Lockheed (1995) submit that high-quality education in Latin America, for the most part, is offered in private schools which are located in the major urban centers. They also note that achievement quality in these schools is concomitant the “demanding selection criteria for both students and teachers” (p. 18). The repeated measures results showed that, contrary to researchers’ previous suspicions, students actually drew similarly stereotypical images at two different times. This helps eliminate the possibility of the students being affected by a recent incident having an influence on his/her drawing. Each of these results are interesting and helpful to examine why there is very noticeable disparity in the number of Bolivians and Colombians pursuing scientific careers compared to those in other more developed countries. Nevertheless, both student samples characterized scientists as white males wearing lab coats and manipulating traditional tools in an indoor setting. In a similar study, a group of AfricanColombian middle high school students continued to draw white male

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scientists after a 3-week activity in which they read about, discussed and presented the life of black and female scientists. The size of the human figure differed within and across samples. Bolivian students’ human figures averaged 13.25 cm, compared to 12.09 cm for the Colombian sample. Also, there was a general height difference for female students’ (13.74 cm) and male students’ figures (11.96). It was also noted that students in lower grades drew human figures that were larger than their counterpart’s in upper grades. Figure size correlated positively with the richness of drawings. Colombian students drew smaller figures with more detail; a similar trend was observed in upper grade level students’ pictures, especially from private schools. As pointed out by She (1998), students’ images of scientists are also influenced by instructional approaches. In Bolivia for instance, the national curriculum is characterized as being in an emerging phase. Therefore, it would be expected that Bolivian teachers do not see their science teaching as being informed by a set of guidelines—that do not exist yet—as an important aspect in their daily instruction. In a study on instructional practices, Bolivian teachers declared that science instruction should be centered on the democratic values needed in their social environment rather than in the teaching of content and theories that would enable students to pursue further studies of technological and environmental problems (Campbell, Zhang & Erdogan, forthcoming). In Colombia, the national science education standards were enacted in 2003.

CONCLUSIONS This study was about providing an original account of the quality of images about scientists possessed by students from two Latin American countries. That being said, it does not intend to present a concluding depiction of the perceptions students from this part of world hold about science and scientists. We encourage future studies addressing this issue from different angles. For instance, we consider it important to explore aspects such as, the role of cultural traditions in school communities from both rural and urban settings, the influence of well and under-served schools in both settings and the impact of the national school curricula in the teaching and learning of science. From this study, we conclude that: 1. Colombian students possess an image of scientists that is more stereotypical than the one submitted by their Bolivian counterparts. The stereotypical quality is more prevalent in students from upper

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grade levels and from public schools. Although students generally perceive scientists as a white male, working in an indoor lab facility, the scientist is not necessarily depicted as a mad person, wearing a lab coat or pursuing investigations in a secretive fashion. Young and smiling, both male and females figures were observed. 2. Although Bolivian students submitted drawings depicting scientists in a less stereotypical manner, it is our assumption that it is not in connection with a positive and well-rounded view of science. It may be argued that, instead, students from the participating Bolivian schools have an incomplete image of what science is and the work scientists do which might be affected by the low quality of the school infrastructure. 3. In the case of the Colombian sample, it seems that the quality of science education offered in private schools affects, in a positive fashion, the students’ perceptions of science and scientists. In their depictions, students from these schools offered images of scientists that do not fully resemble the stereotypical depictions. Their renditions were also rich and well documented as compared to the ones produced by students in public schools and also from the Bolivian sample. It could be argued that the participative roles students are allowed to play and the relevance of the school science curriculum in these institutions have encouraged these students to see science in a more comprehensive way. In these countries and unlike students in public and rural schools, it is expected that most students from private schools move on to their tertiary education. Therefore and from a pragmatic standpoint, science education in the private school sector has a market value for families who can afford a college career for their children. Limitations of the Study In the present study, the students were tested within individual classes. As a result, there may have been a classroom effect that was not examined. Students within a class generally behave more similar than students across classes since they are educated by the same teacher and experience the same classroom dynamics. Hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) allows for the testing of differences at different levels. HLM allows the researcher to test for differences both within and between classes as well as schools. Once a larger sample is collected, a future study will use HLM to provide a more detailed look at this topic.

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One more issue that may arise is that some students are better drawers than others. A student who has artistic talent may draw a scientist and his/ her surroundings with more detail. A student who is not as good as a drawer may produce a very basic depiction of a scientist. The student who is not the better drawer may be penalized (or in some cases rewarded) for not drawing the more detailed version when in fact the student may actually have the same view of a scientist as the student who is the better drawer. One possible solution to this concern is to have the students add a list of features they think of when they think of a scientist and that they do not feel they can include in their drawing. Another important approach to consider in future studies is to make possible the participation of private schools in each student sample in order to guarantee a broader comparison between the participating countries and school communities. We also acknowledge the fact that our Bolivian data were gathered only in the capitol city of La Paz, where we have been collaborating with school districts in other civil and science education initiatives for the past 4 years (see Medina-Jerez, Taylor & Bryant, 2009, for review). It is then necessary to recognize that we may have not been able to obtain a generalizable data set for interpreting the range of diverse socioeconomic and cultural–linguistic backgrounds from other parts of Bolivia. Finally, it would be of great interest to address this investigation from a social justice perspective in hopes of providing evidence to school administrators and policy makers about ways to reduce the quality gaps between private and public education to help even the learning ground for students from all walks of life in these school communities.

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