Session Q6: Science Literacy, the Nature of Science and Religion

11:15 AM–2:15 PM, Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Room: Portland Ballroom 253

Sponsoring Unit: FEd
Chair: Lawrence Woolf, General Atomics

Abstract ID: BAPS.2010.MAR.Q6.1

Abstract: Q6.00001 : The Development of Civic Scientific Literacy in the United States

11:15 AM–11:51 AM

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Author:

  Jon Miller
    (Michigan State University)

Civic scientific literacy (CSL) refers to the ability to read and make sense of scientific constructs presented at the level found in the Tuesday \textit{New York Times} or to view and make sense of scientific explanations at the level presented in a Nova television show. The CSL index is content neutral (individuals who accept climate change and individuals who have doubts about it could demonstrate an acceptable of scientific literacy by demonstrating a command of the basic scientific constructs that underlie these arguments) and source neutral (print, broadcast, Internet, museums, or other sources). This paper utilizes data from the 2008 cycle of the Longitudinal Study of American Youth (LSAY) to identify the factors associated with the development of CSL in young adults in their mid 30's. Building on more than two decades of national cross-sectional studies of CSL in the United States (Miller, 1983, 1987, 1995, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2004, 2010), this analysis uses a set of structural equation models to examine the relative influence of home and parental factors, pre-college science and mathematics courses, college-level science and mathematics courses, work experiences, religious beliefs, and involvement in scientific and technological issues in the political arena on the development of CSL. The results confirm the importance of college science courses - especially for non-STEMM majors - in the development of CSL. The results indicate that college science courses are valuable for college non-STEMM majors because of (1) the substantive content understanding produced by the course experience and (2) the utility of a command of these basic constructs in making sense of current and policy-relevant science information in more sophisticated public media. \\[0pt] References: \\[0pt] Miller, J.D. 1983. Scientific Literacy: A Conceptual and Empirical Review. \textit{Daedalus} 112(2):29-48. \\[0pt] Miller, J.D. 1987. Scientific Literacy in the United States. In Evered, D. \& M. O'Connor (Eds.), \textit{Communicating Science to the Public}. London: Wiley. \\[0pt] Miller, J.D. 1995. Scientific Literacy for Effective Citizenship. In R.E. Yager (Ed.), \textit{Science/ Technology/Society as Reform in Science Education}. New York: State University Press of New York. \\[0pt] Miller, J.D. 1998. The Measurement of Civic Scientific Literacy. \textit{Public Understanding of Science}, 7:1-21. \\[0pt] Miller, J.D. 2000. The Development of Civic Scientific Literacy in the United States, in Kumar, D.D. \& Chubin, D. (Eds.), \textit{Science, Technology, and Society: A Sourcebook on Research and Practice}. New York: Plenum Press. Pp. 21-47. \\[0pt] Miller, J.D. 2001. The Acquisition and Retention of Scientific Information by American Adults, in Falk, J.H. (Ed.), \textit{Free-Choice Science Education}. New York: Teachers College Press. Pp. 93-114. \\[0pt] Miller, J.D. 2004. Public understanding of, and attitudes toward scientific research: what we know and what we need to know. \textit{Public Understanding of Science} 13:273-294. \\[0pt] Miller, J.D. 2010 [in press]. The conceptualization and measurement of civic scientific literacy for the 21st century. In, Hildebrand, J. G. and Meinwald, J. (Eds.), \textit{Science in the Liberal Arts Curriculum}. Cambridge, MA: American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

To cite this abstract, use the following reference: http://meetings.aps.org/link/BAPS.2010.MAR.Q6.1