Correlational Study of Student Perceptions of their Undergraduate Laboratory Environment with respect to Gender and Major

Eva Nyutu, William W. Cobern, Brandy A-S. Pleasants
242 135


The science laboratory learning environment has been a distinctive area in science education since the 19th century. Unfortunately, students are generally not aware of what science instructors expect from laboratory experiences, and far too often, the undergraduate science laboratory curriculum lacks explicit, well-defined goals. Science instructors assume that they have created their laboratory curriculum in such a way as to reflect an ideal science instructional laboratory, but students may not recognize this. What previous studies do not indicate is the extent to which students understand the laboratory goals for instruction as intended by the instructors. This study, therefore, using a quantitative design, examined undergraduate science major (biology, chemistry, and physics) and non-major students’, and female and male perceptions of their science instructional laboratory with respect to instructors’ goals for the laboratory. Data was collected via the Student Perceptions of the College Instructional Laboratory Survey (SPCILS) at a Midwestern University in the USA. The findings suggest that, on the whole, students perceive their instructional labs much as intended by their instructors. Female and male students were just as likely to view their instructional laboratories as intended by the instructors. Moreover, the study found no differences between science majors and non-majors. This study provides baseline data for future qualitative studies about how major and gender might be impacting students’ laboratory experiences in ways beyond what was measured on this survey. Our research was done at a teaching-oriented, midsized university. It would thus be appropriate for similar investigations to be carried out at a research-oriented university.


Undergraduate science laboratories, Students’ perceptions, Science majors, Non-majors, Gender, Science instructor goals

Full Text:



Nyutu, E. N., Cobern, W. W., & Pleasants, B. A-S. (2021). Correlational study of student perceptions of their undergraduate laboratory environment with respect to gender and major. International Journal of Education in Mathematics, Science, and Technology (IJEMST), 9(1), 83-102.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2021 International Journal of Education in Mathematics, Science and Technology



International Journal of Education in Mathematics, Science and Technology (IJEMST) 
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Editors: Ismail Sahin & Mack Shelley

Place of Publication: Turkey & Name of Publisher: Ismail Sahin

ISSN: 2147-611X (Online)