Document Type



Doctor of Education


Teaching-Learning Processes

Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Charles R. Granger, Ph.D.


Wilkinson, Gayle


Althof, Wolfgang

Woolsey, Thomas


Abstract What affect does female participation in the Training Future Scientist (TFS) program based on Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory and Maslow’s Hierarchies of Needs have on female adolescents’ achievement levels in science and their attitude toward science and interest in science-based careers? The theoretical framework for this study was developed through a constructivist perspective, using dialogic engagement, coinciding with Lev Vygotsky’s sociocultural learning theory. This action research project used mixed methods research design, targeted urban adolescent females who were members of Boys & Girls Club of Greater St. Louis (BGCGSTL) after-school program. The data collection measures were three qualitative instruments (semi-structured interviews, reflective journal entries and attitudinal survey open-ended responses) and two quantitative instruments (pre-test and posttests over the content from the Buckle-down Curriculum and attitudinal survey scaled responses). The goal was to describe the impact the Training Future Scientist (TFS) after-school program has on the girls’ scientific content knowledge, attitude toward choosing a science career, and self-perception in science. Through the TFS after-school program participants had access to a secondary science teacher-researcher, peer leaders that were in the 9th - 12th grade, and Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) role models from Washington University Medical School Young Scientist Program (YSP) graduate and medical students and fellows as volunteers. The program utilized the Buckle-down Curriculum as guided, peer-led cooperative learning groups, hands-on labs and demonstrations facilitated by the researcher, trained peer leaders and/or role models that used constructivist science pedagogy to improve test-taking strategies. The outcomes for the TFS study were an increase in science content knowledge, a positive trend in attitude change, and a negative trend in choosing a science career.

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