A study of craft, design and technology among 14 year olds : their attitudes, related views, associated personality traits and gender differences
This research is concerned with investigating the attitudes of 3rd year secondary pupils towards CDT; with establishing any differences, in both attitudes and personality in the way the two sexes regard CDT and why more girls do not continue with the subject after the 3rd year. The field study for this was completed in 1982. There was a follow up of the sample at the post 16+ stage in order to investigate the actual take-up of further study of CDT subjects to examination level at 16+ and to compare those who passed well ('high flyers') with those who only gained a low pass grade Clow achievers') and compare attitudes and examination performance in the sample schools. The research began with three questionnaires designed and administered in 1982 in several coeducational schools in Hertfordshire - two attitude questionnaires to 405 pupils (301 boys & 104 girls) in 7 schools and the 'engineer' questionnaire to 150 pupils (87 boys & 63 girls) in 3 schools. A total of four questionnaires were used - an attitude questionnaire with a five point Likert scale; an open-response attitude questionnaire and a questionnaire designed to find out how the pupils perceive the engineer. Cattell's HSPQ was also used. Across the whole of the five attitude scales, the two sexes presented completely different profiles. Both sexes expressed a desire for more practical work. Pro-CDT pupils were influenced by a family member with technical skills and tended to be tough-minded rather than tender-minded. Boys who are in favour of CDT are likely to be far more controlled and conscientious; introverts rather than extraverts; neurotic rather than stable and slightly more inclined to like working with things rather than people. In contrast, pro-CDT girls are likely to be stable extraverts, with a slight tendency to prefer working with people and to be lax and expedient. These terms are explained within the thesis. Girls were on the whole more concerned about the form of the lessons, claimed to be more relaxed in workshop sessions in CDT and enjoyed the lessons more than boys. The boys in their personality responses revealed some degree of concern and anxiety. However, there was an almost total rejection by the girls for continuing CDT - especially amongst the intelligent ones - although they found the subject enjoyable and within their capabilities. The girls' attitudinal responses showed that in CDT they lacked confidence with tools and machines even after three years in secondary education. This may be related to their previous lack of 'tinkering' experience. Boys seemed to have a far greater enjoyment and appreciation of the value and skills of practical technical work although they tended to be weak mathematically and less inclined than girls to continue with graphical work. They expressed a greater intention of continuing with CDT and taking up a technical career. Twice as many boys (80%) took up technical studies (CDT) as opposed to technical drawing (41%). Only one girl took any CDT subjects. In practically-based CDT examinations, the 'high flyers' demonstrated a greater pro-CDT stance and found the work more relaxing than the 'low achievers'. In graphical examinations, the 'high flyers' were more critical of the way the subject was taught; were more concerned about the effects of technology on society and were far more relaxed compared with the 'low achievers'. These findings are compared with other research that was going on at the same time. It is hypothesized from the findings that more girls may take up CDT if there was an increase in investigative work and a greater time allocation. Possible sources of further research are discussed in the concluding chapter.