Psychometric reevaluation of the Women in Science Scale (WiSS)

Steven V. Owen, Mary Anne Toepperwein, Linda A. Pruski, Cheryl L. Blalock, Yan Liu, Carolyn E. Marshall, Michael J. Lichtenstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

The Women in Science Scale (WiSS) was first developed in 1984, and is still being used in contemporary studies, yet its psychometric properties have not been evaluated with current statistical methods. In this study, the WiSS was administered in its original 27-item form to 1,439 middle and high school students. Confirmatory factor analysis based upon the original description of the WiSS was modestly supportive of the proposed three-factor structure, but the claimed dimensions showed substantial redundancy. Therefore, we split our sample and performed exploratory factor analyses on one half. The most satisfactory solution, a two-factor model, was then applied to the crossvalidation sample with a confirmatory factor analysis. This two-factor structure was supported with a total of 14 items. Factor 1, Equality, contains eight items, and factor 2, Sexism, six items. Although our data are limited to adolescents, the WiSS, with improved psychometric properties, may be used descriptively to assess attitudes toward women in science and with additional stability and repeatability testing, may be used in evaluation research. The shortened WiSS should result in shorter administration time, fewer missing data, and increased acceptance among survey administrators in classroom settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1461-1478
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Research in Science Teaching
Volume44
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2007

Keywords

  • Evaluation and theory
  • Gender/equity
  • General science
  • Secondary

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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    Owen, S. V., Toepperwein, M. A., Pruski, L. A., Blalock, C. L., Liu, Y., Marshall, C. E., & Lichtenstein, M. J. (2007). Psychometric reevaluation of the Women in Science Scale (WiSS). Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 44(10), 1461-1478. https://doi.org/10.1002/tea.20187