At the end of the school year when the project was completely finished, each student received an individualized student profile which contained the researcher's observations, the student's journal entries and data from the student's responses to the first questionnaire. A final survey in the form of a questionnaire was given to the students in order to determine if they agreed that their student profiles reflected their attitudes and feelings accurately.
The choices on the questionnaire were strongly agree, somewhat agree, neither agree nor disagree, somewhat disagree or strongly disagree. Every student responded and Figures 11 and 12 summarize the students' answers.
Figure 11: Students' Feelings
Each student was given the opportunity to comment in retrospect how his or her feelings had changed if the profile was less than accurate. Since most of the students believed that the profiles were accurate, only those who marked the questionnaire with a response other than strongly agree made comments. Moreover, these quoted comments confirm the observations that students were initially reluctant to do the project but had a change of heart once the publishing aspect of the project began.
At first I did not like the science fair. I learned a lot about computers; now I think it was a good idea.
Yes, I feel like I should have made more time to work on my project.
Not much [change]. I enjoyed making Web pages.
I maybe wish I had tried a little harder on the science fair.
I really liked using the computers, we are going to be needing them for years to come and I feel I can do a lot more on them now.
I think the science fair was a productive experience in learning how to use a computer and doing research. I'm not so intimidated by the computer.
I think that now I can honestly say that I like computers better. They are hard to learn, but I think it's important that I am able to use it because they are so prevalent in our society. The science fair definitely helped me to understand computers and the Internet better.
I am overall more positive about the experience. I learned a lot.
I feel like I accomplished something that most students have not done--create my own Web page!!!
Figure 12: Students' Attitudes
Students were also given the opportunity to comment in retrospect how their attitudes had changed if the profile was less than accurate. Again, only the students who felt that their attitudes were different than what their student profile reflected made comments. These quotes also support the observation that the students' attitudes about the project improved once the publishing began.
I am not as against science fair. Some were pretty cool.
No, I felt I had a good attitude during the project.
I may have hated it during the process, but now I feel good about my finished product.
I am more positive.
I am more willing to use computers, and also help others to use them; I think that I know more about them [now]. I am also going to get an email address at home now.
The more I look back, the more my attitude improves about the whole thing. The end result that was the finished project proved to be well worth the incredible amount of effort I put in.
I am more supportive of the science fair.
I have a much better attitude now.
I wish I had taken it more seriously--it really wasn't that bad.
I am glad we did the science fair.
Willet-Smith (1993), Neal (1995), Dixon and Black (1996), and Louis Nadelson all agreed that publishing student work motivates students to work harder--because of the wider audience. The following students' own words quoted from this study confirm the findings discussed in the literature review. On the final questionnaire, the students were asked, Other than what appears in your student profile, are there other ways in which you were motivated to work harder because your project was published?
I was motivated to do a good job because I knew it would be viewed by the administration and that [some] other people weren't making theirs look good, so I wanted them to see that I put forth effort and time into my site.
I think the knowledge of having my work be public just kind of motivated me to put a little more effort into it, but I guess that's kind of obvious.
To make my project the best I could because I knew a lot of people would see it.
The publishing of the project is definitely motivating because I was working for the standards of not only myself or one teacher but for everyone who could possibly view the project.
Yes, I felt like I had to make the project good because a bunch of people were going to be viewing it.