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Relevant CAT: Attitude Survey

Discipline: Biology

Description:
The biology attitude scale is a 22-item instrument that is designed to measure students’ attitudes toward biology; in particular, it is designed to measure their feelings of like or dislike about biology. Fourteen of the items use a Likert-type scale (five-point agree-disagree scale) and eight items use a semantic differential scale (five-point bipolar adjective scale). The instrument was developed on the assumption that an important consequence of instruction is a change in the student’s attitude toward the subject, and the authors argue the importance of focusing on attitudes by stating that there usually exists a positive correlation between attitudes and achievement. The authors state that the instrument is not intended to measure absolute attitudes toward biology; rather, it is designed to detect and measure changes in attitude generally from the beginning and end of a course.

Of a total of 30 Likert-type items initially developed, the authors used fourteen items whose correlations were high (r>= .80, n=54). The eight semantic differential items used were based upon work by Osgood, Suci, and Tannenbaum (1957). To determine the concurrent validity and test-retest reliability, the instrument was administered twice to four undergraduate biology classes. The mean correlation between the Likert-type items and the semantic differential items was about .80, indicating high concurrent validity. The test-retest reliability was also high – correlations were never under .90 for the Likert-type scale, and .80 for the semantic differential scale.

To measure the effectiveness of the Biology Attitude Scale, the authors administered the instrument as a pre- and post-test in three introductory biology courses (n=675) and a group of students who were not taking any biology courses (n=31). Two of the biology courses were for majors, and one was for non-majors. As the authors expected, student in the major courses scored higher on the pre-test, and there was no change in the scores of students who were not taking a biology course.



Tool:
The Biology Attitude Scale

Likert-type scale

Each of the statements below expresses a feeling toward biology. Please rate each statement on the extent to which you agree. For each, you may:

A
B
C
D
E
strongly agree
agree
be undecided
disagree
strongly disagree

1. Biology is very interesting to me.

2. I don’t like biology, and it scares me to have to take it.

3. I am always under a terrible strain in a biology class.

4. Biology is fascinating and fun.

5. Biology makes me feel secure, and at the same time is stimulating.

6. Biology makes me feel uncomfortable, restless, irritable, and impatient.

7. In general, I have a good feeling toward biology.

8. When I hear the world “biology,” I have a feeling of dislike.

9. I approach biology with a feeling of hesitation.

10. I really like biology.

11. I have always enjoyed studying biology in school.

12. It makes me nervous to even think about doing a biology experiment.

13. I feel at ease in biology and like it very much.

14. I feel a definite positive reaction to biology; it’s enjoyable.



Semantic differential scale

Below are some scales on which we would like you to rate your feelings toward biology. On each scale, you can rate your feelings toward biology as an A, B, C, D, or E. There are no correct answers. Also, some of the scales seem to make more sense than others. Don’t worry about it. Just rate your feelings toward biology on these scales as best you can. Please don’t leave any scales blank.

BIOLOGY IS:

15.
Good
A
B
C D
E
Bad
16.
Clean
A
B
C D
E
Dirty
17.
Worthless
A
B
C D
E
Valuable
18.
Cruel
A
B
C D
E
Kind
19.
Pleasant
A
B
C D
E
 Unpleasant
20.
Sad  
A
B
C D
E
Happy
21.
Nice
A
B
C D
E
Awful
22.
Fair
A
B
C D
E
Unfair

Reprinted with permission from the National Association of Biology Teachers. Instrument appears in Russell and Hollander (1975).

Authors:

Hollander, Steven (Marketing Research Division, Standard Oil Co., California)
Russell, James (Education, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind.)


Selected References:
Russell, J. & Hollander, S. (1975). A biology attitude scale. The American Biology Teacher, 37 (5), 270-273.

Osgood, C.E., Suci, G.J., & Tannenbaum, P.F. (1957). The measurement of meaning. University of Illinois Press, Urbana, Ill.


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