Poll Assesses Student Opinions About Science
Most U.S. college students believe--mistakenly--that they are science literate. But they would like to have received more precollege math and science grounding, and they think that the next generation needs significantly better training. These are just some of the results of Bayer Corp.'s eighth annual survey of public attitudes about science. The surveys are conducted by the Gallup Organization. This year's poll, which surveyed 1,000 full-time students attending four-year colleges, can be viewed at http://www.bayerus.com/msms/news/pages
Although 84% of the students labeled themselves science literate, they "are not as prepared as they think they are," warns Rebecca Lucore, manager of Bayer's "Making Science Make Sense" program. Studies such as the National Assessment of Educational Progress and the Third International Mathematics & Science Study "show that high school seniors are underachieving in math and science."
Two-thirds of all students surveyed believe that science and technology will be very important in fighting future terrorist threats. And only one-quarter believe that science literacy will not be important in their own careers. Among nonscience majors, that number jumps to 38%. But that impression "conflicts with previous Bayer surveys of workplace managers, who say science literacy and its associated skills--critical thinking, problem solving, and teamwork--are important for all types of employees, regardless of industry," Lucore says.