Published In

International Journal of Science Education

Document Type

Post-Print

Publication Date

10-18-2017

Subjects

Science -- Study and teaching -- United States, Motivation in education, Identity (Psychology)

Abstract

As part of long-standing efforts to promote undergraduates’ success in science, researchers have investigated the instructional strategies and motivational factors that promote student learning and persistence in science coursework and majors. This study aimed to create a set of brief measures that educators and researchers can use as tools to examine the undergraduate motivational experience in science classes. To identify key motivational processes, we drew on self-determination theory (SDT), which holds that students have fundamental needs – to feel competent, related, and autonomous – that fuel their intrinsic motivation. When educational experiences meet these needs, students engage more energetically and learn more, cumulatively contributing to a positive identity as a scientist. Based on information provided by 1013 students from 8 classes in biology, chemistry, and physics, we constructed conceptually focused and psychometrically sound survey measures of three sets of motivational factors: (1) students’ appraisals of their own competence, autonomy, and relatedness; (2) the quality of students’ behavioural and emotional engagement in academic work; and (3) students’ emerging identities as scientists, including their science identity, purpose in science, and science career plans. Using an iterative confirmatory process, we tested short item sets for unidimensionality and internal consistency, and then cross-validated them. Tests of measurement invariance showed that scales were generally comparable across disciplines. Most importantly, scales and final course grades showed correlations consistent with predictions from SDT. These measures may provide a window on the student motivational experience for educators, researchers, and interventionists who aim to improve the quality of undergraduate science teaching and learning.

Description

NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in International Journal of Science Education. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in International Journal of Science Education, 39, (October 2017).http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09500693.2017.1387946

DOI

10.1080/09500693.2017.1387946

Persistent Identifier

http://archives.pdx.edu/ds/psu/23491

Available for download on Thursday, April 18, 2019

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