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We present the results of a study designed to measure the level of science anxiety in students enrolled in physics courses at Loyola University Chicago. We undertook this study with two objectives: (1) to determine the factors contributing to science anxiety; in particular, to ascertain whether the leading factors identified in an earlier study have remained constant over time, and (2) to investigate whether science anxiety was affected by a semester of introductory physics. This is the first study of its kind, analyzing science anxiety in pre- and posttests of a cohort composed entirely of students taking physics courses. We find that the leading factors contributing to science anxiety are nonscience anxiety, gender, and to a much lesser degree, course of study (major), in agreement with earlier results. In general, males start and end the course with somewhat less science anxiety (and nonscience anxiety) than females. Post-course responses indicated some improvement in nonscience anxiety and in science anxiety for both genders. Acute levels of science anxiety were somewhat decreased by exposure to a physics course. Different pedagogies and gender role models may correlate with anxiety reduction.
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