Table 7-6
Correct answers to questions about charts and statistics, reasoning/life sciences, and understanding of experiment/controlling variable by sex: 2008
Question Both
Men Women
1. Please look at card 3. Day-night rhythms dramatically affect our bodies. Probably no body system is more influenced than the nervous system. The figure on card 3 illustrates the number of errors made by shift workers in different portions of the 24-hour cycle. Based on the data illustrated in the figure, during which of these time periods did the most errors occur? 77 80 73
2. As part of a laboratory experiment, five students measured the weight of the same leaf four times. They recorded 20 slightly different weights. All of the work was done carefully and correctly. Their goal was to be as accurate as possible and reduce error in the experiment to a minimum. Which of the following is the BEST method to report the weight of the leaf? 66 70 63
3. Please look at card 1. The two objects shown there have the same mass, but object B loses heat more quickly than object A. Which combination of bodily features would be BEST suited to a small animal that lives in a cold climate and needs to minimize heat loss?a 51 54 49
4. Please look at card A. A gardener has an idea that a plant needs sand in the soil for healthy growth. In order to test her idea she uses two pots of plants. She sets up one pot of plants as shown on the top part of the card. Which one of the pictures on the bottom part of the card shows what she should use for the second pot?b 51 49 53
5. Please look at card 2. A student wants to find out if temperature affects the behavior of goldfish. He has four fish bowls and 20 goldfish. Which of the experiments on card 2 should he do? 57 59 56
6. Combined responses to two interrelated questions: (Question 1) What is the scientist trying to find out from this experiment? (Question 2, follow-up) Why did you choose that answer?c 29 30 28

a Respondent can reach correct answer through both reasoning and knowledge of life sciences.
b Respondent can answer this question by using knowledge of experiment/controlling variable or knowledge in the life sciences.
c Data represent a composite of correct responses to both questions.

NOTE: For complete questions, see sidebar: "New Science Knowledge Questions Included in the General Social Survey: 2008."

SOURCE: University of Chicago, National Opinion Research Center, General Social Survey (2008). See appendix table 7-15. Questions 1, 2, and 3 originally from American Council on Education, GED Testing Service, Science Official GED Practice Test (2006). Question 4 originally from Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMMS), Complete TIMSS 8 Science Concepts and Items 4,, accessed 22 September 2009. Questions 5 and 6 originally from American Association for the Advancement of Science, AAAS Project 2061,, accessed 22 September 2009.

Science and Engineering Indicators 2010