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This document reports on an investigation that described patterns of interests in specific careers for academically talented seventh grade girls and boys. This study represents a step in addressing the unequal distribution of males and females in many occupational fields, most notably the low involvement of females in scientific and technical fields and mathematics. Interest patterns exhibited by girls and boys may be related to future job choice; therefore, it is important to determine these interests as they tend to become more differentiated during adolescence, a time when students are developing the ability to think in terms of the future. The primary objective of this investigation was to compare the occupational interests of academically talented male and female seventh graders. A sample of 1,272 applicants to the Duke University Talent Identification Program Talent Search served as subjects for this study. Subjects rated 59 occupations in terms of how much they would like or dislike each occupation. Results indicated a gender stereotyped pattern of career interests; males rated quantitative, scientific, and vocational occupations higher than females, while girls rated teaching and the arts higher than boys. This pattern of results suggests that, even for this highly talented sample, a gender based scheme of career interest is in place well before high school. Interventions aimed at increasing numbers of females in mathematics and science based careers may need to be implemented earlier than the seventh grade. (Author/DK)

Descriptors: Academically Gifted, Career Choice, Educational Research, Equal Education, Grade 7, Junior High School Students, Junior High Schools, Middle Schools, Sex Differences, Sex Fairness, Sex Role, Sex Stereotypes, Student Interests

Autor: Oppler, Scott H.; And Others


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