The academic and nonacademic characteristics of science and nonscience majors in Yemeni high schools

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Science Teaching


Marvin Druger


science majors, high school students

Subject Categories

Curriculum and Social Inquiry | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Sociology


The purposes of this study were: (a) to identify the variables associated with selection of majors; (b) to determine the differences between science and nonscience majors in general, and high and low achievers in particular, with respect to attitudes toward science, integrated science process skills, and logical thinking abilities; and (c) to determine if a significant relationship exists between students' majors and their personality types and learning styles.

Data were gathered from 188 twelfth grade male and female high school students in Yemen, who enrolled in science (45 males and 47 females) and art and literature (47 males and 49 females) tracks. Data were collected by the following instruments: Past math and science achievement (data source taken from school records), Kolb's Learning Styles Inventory (1985), Integrated Science Process Skills Test, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Attitude Toward Science in School Assessment, Group Assessment of Logical Thinking, Yemeni High School Students Questionnaire.

The Logistic Regression Model and the Linear Discriminant Analysis identified several variables that are associated with selection of majors. Moreover, some of the characteristics of science and nonscience majors that were revealed by these models include the following: Science majors seem to have higher degrees of curiosity in science, high interest in science at high school level, high tendency to believe that their majors will help them to find a potential job in the future, and have had higher achievement in science subjects, and have rated their math teachers higher than did nonscience majors. In contrast, nonscience majors seem to have higher degrees of curiosity in nonscience subjects, higher interest in science at elementary school, higher anxiety during science lessons than did science majors.

In addition, General Linear Models allow that science majors generally demonstrate more positive attitudes towards science than do nonscience majors and they outperform nonscience majors on integrated science process skills and logical thinking abilities. High achievers in science majors have a significantly higher attitude toward science, higher integrated science process skills, and higher logical thinking abilities than high and low achievers in nonscience majors. No gender differences were found on these variables.

Chi-Square tests indicate that no significant relationships exist between students' majors and their personality types and learning styles. However, it was found that majority of students prefer extroversion over introversion, sensing over intuition, thinking over feeling, and judging over perceiving. Moreover, the most common learning styles among science and nonscience majors were the divergent and the assimilative learning styles. Finally, the educational implication of these findings were discussed and future research that need to be conducted were proposed.


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