(Dis)Interest in Science: How Perceptions About Grades May Be Discouraging Girls

  • Sidney N. Mitchell
  • Dianne L. Hoff
Keywords: Science, Perceptions, Grades, Girls, Education


In spite of advances in many fields, women are still under-represented in the sciences. In this paper, we report the results of a study investigating the perceptions of high school girls enrolled in science classes on whether hard work leads to success, if they are receiving the scores they deserve, and if the assessment system used in class is unfair. Analyses indicated that girls received better grades than boys, but generally believed that hard work does not lead to success and that the grading system is not completely fair. The findings suggest subtle ways that classrooms may be discouraging girls, and recommendations for teaching practices in science education to address this problem are provided.

Author Biographies

Sidney N. Mitchell
University of Maine
Dianne L. Hoff
University of Maine