Modified Fennema-Sherman Attitude Scales

by Diana Doepken, Ellen Lawsky, and Linda Padwa

In an effort to study students' attitudes towards math, Elizabeth Fennema and Julia A. Sherman constructed the following attitude scale in the early 1970's. The scale consists of four subscales: a confidence scale, a usefulness scale, a scale that measures mathematics as a male domain and a teacher perception scale. Each of these scales consists of 12 items. Six of them measure a positive attitude and six measure a negative attitude.

This scale could give a teacher and an individual student useful information about that particular student's attitude(s) towards math. Because this scale was originally written twenty years ago and the subtle meanings and connotations of words have changed in that time period, it is important that this scale not be used for research.

We also adapted the scale to provide tools to examine a student's attitude towards science. Following the scales is the scoring key.

Introductory note (for use with these scales)

Fennema-Sherman Mathematics Attitude Scales

Using this scale will help you and I find out how you feel about yourself and mathematics.

On the following pages is a series of sentences. You are to mark your answer sheets by telling how you feel about them. Suppose a statement says:

Example 1: I like mathematics.

As you read the sentence, you will know whether you agree or disagree. If you strongly agree, circle A next to Number 1. If you agree, but not so strongly, or you only "sort of" agree, circle B. If you disagree with the sentence very much, circle E for strongly disagree. If you disagree, but not so strongly, circle D. If you are not sure about a question or you can't answer it, circle C. Now, mark your sheet, then go on and do Example 2.

Do not spend much time with any statement, but be sure to answer every statement.

Work fast, but carefully.

There are no "right" or "wrong" answers. The only correct responses are those that are true for you. Whenever possible, let the things that have happened to you help you make a choice.

Key to Modified Fennema-Sherman Scale for Math and Science

Key:

C = Personal confidence about the subject matter
U = Usefulness of the subject's content
M = Subject is perceived as a male domain
T = Perception of teacher's attitudes

+ = Question reflects positive attitude
- = Question reflects negative attitude

Question # Category of
Question
Attitude
1 C +
2 T +
3 U +
4 C -
5 U -
6 M +
7 T -
8 C -
9 M -
10 U +
11 M -
12 C +
13 U -
14 T +
15 M +
16 T -
17 U +
18 M -
19 C -
20 T +
21 U -
22 T -
23 C -
24 M -
25 C +
26 T -
27 U +
28 M +
29 U -
30 T -
31 M +
32 C -
33 C +
34 U +
35 T +
36 M -
37 C +
38 M +
39 U -
40 T -
41 C +
42 U -
43 C -
44 U +
45 T +
46 M +
47 T +

Scoring Directions:

Each positive item receives the score based on points

 A = 5 B = 4 C = 3 D = 2 E = 1

The scoring for each negative item should be reversed

 A = 1 B = 2 C = 3 D = 4 E = 5

Add the scores for each group, T, C, U, M, to get a total for that attitude.

The highest possible score for each group of statements is 60 points.

Woodrow Wilson Leadership Program in Mathematics lpt@www.woodrow.org
The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation webmaster@woodrow.org
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