Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Kelly, Kimberly

Committee Member

Ralston, Margaret

Committee Member

Rader, Nicole E.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Sociology


This study looks at middle school students’ attitudes toward three dimensions of perceptions of science (interest, relevance, and competence) and compares student attitudes by gender, age, and race. These measures are expected to reflect the varying potential of these students’ interest in pursuing careers in STEM. A sample of 719 students in East-Central Mississippi were asked to rate their level of agreement with statements taken from common surveys for measuring attitudes towards science, the Test of Science Related Attitudes 2 (TOSRA 2) and the Views on Science and Education (VOSE) questionnaires. Logistic regression analyses showed that age is a more significant indicator of low interest and of low competence than gender, and that race does not play a significant role in any dimension. Findings indicate students lose interest earlier than high school, suggesting that earlier interventions may be better at increasing participation in STEM than programs targeting older students.



STEM||science||technology||engineering||math||middle school students||STEM interest