social justice, numeracy, self-assessment, ways of knowing, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, assessment, science literacy, higher education


We seek to understand how the experiences of groups that differ in gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation produce college-level educational performances that differ from the experiences of the dominant majority group. We employ two datasets: a National Database of 24,701 participants and a Paired-Measures Database with 3,323 participants. Both datasets provide demographic information, socioeconomic conditions of status as first-generation student, English as a first language, and interest in majoring in science, and competency scores on understanding science as a way of knowing obtained from the Science Literacy Concept Inventory. The Paired-Measures Database includes additional self-assessed competence ratings that enabled quantifying affective confidence. We meld the ways of knowing of ethics, numeracy, and social justice, especially the social justice concept of Othering, to interpret our data. Two of three competing hypotheses about self-assessment encourage Othering. Our data strongly support the third—that all groups are good at self-assessment and merit equal respect. Women and men are equally competent in science literacy. Women, on average, are more accurate in their self-assessments whereas men, on average, are overconfident. Those with minority sexual orientations register higher competence than the binary-sexual majority but are less confident of their competency. Minority ethnicities, on average, produce significantly lower science literacy scores. With one exception (Middle Eastern), groups produce mean self-assessed competence ratings that are remarkably accurate predictors of their mean competence scores. The three socioeconomic conditions exert significant and unequal impacts across ethnic groups, with Hispanic, Middle Eastern and Pacific Islander data providing some unique results.



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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

AppendixAwatsonnuhferv12n2.xlsx (1058 kB)
Appendix A

AppendixBwatsonnuhferv12n2.pdf (5597 kB)
Appendix B

AppendixCwatsonnuhferv12n2l.pdf (259 kB)
Appendix C