Changes in United States Latino/a High School Students' Science Motivational Beliefs: Within Group Differences Across Science Subjects, Gender, Immigrant Status, and Perceived Support.
ABSTRACT: Science motivational beliefs are crucial for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) performance and persistence, but these beliefs typically decline during high school. We expanded the literature on adolescents' science motivational beliefs by examining: (1) changes in motivational beliefs in three specific science subjects, (2) how gender, immigrant generation status, and perceived support from key social agents predicted differences in adolescents' science motivational beliefs, and (3) these processes among Latino/as in the United States, whose underrepresentation in STEM is understudied. We used hierarchical linear modeling to estimate the changes in 104 (40% female) Latino/a high school students' physics, chemistry, and biology motivational beliefs from 9th to 11th grade. Subject-specific ability self-concept, interest, and utility were regressed on gender, immigrant generation status, and perceived science support while controlling for family income, parent education, and adolescents' school. Adolescents' utility declined from 9th to 11th grade whereas their interest remained stable for all three science subjects. Adolescents' ability self-concept increased for biology, decreased for physics, but remained stable for chemistry. Gender differences in adolescents' motivational beliefs at 9th grade only emerged for physics utility as well as physics and chemistry interest; yet, there were no gender differences in how adolescents' science motivational beliefs changed over time. Contrary to expectations, immigrant generation status was not significantly associated with adolescents' science motivational beliefs at 9th grade or in terms of how they changed over time. Adolescents who perceived higher science support generally had higher motivational beliefs in 9th grade, but did not differ on their rate of change. Our findings highlight the need to examine specific science subjects, and that typical gender differences in adolescents' motivational beliefs discussed in the literature may not generalize to all racial and ethnic groups.
Project description:The parent-adolescent relationship has been a classic research topic, and researchers have found that parenting styles (e.g., authoritative, authoritarian) are closely related to various qualities of parent-adolescent relationships (e.g., cohesion, conflict). However, little empirical work has addressed how these variables correlate with each other in mainland China, nor has prior research addressed internal psychological mechanisms. The present study investigated the associations between parenting styles and parent-adolescent relationship factors, examined the mediating effects of adolescents' expectations of behavioral autonomy and beliefs about parental authority, and explored whether adolescent gender moderated these effects. Results from a sample of 633 Chinese adolescents (7th grade: M age = 13.50 ± 0.62 years, 9th grade: M age = 15.45 ± 0.67 years, 11th grade: M age = 17.30 ± 0.75 years) suggested similar levels of parent-adolescent conflict frequency for all parenting styles. However, for parent-adolescent conflict intensity, youth of neglectful and authoritarian parents reported higher levels compared to those with indulgent parents. The highest levels of cohesion with both parents were reported by adolescents with authoritative parents, followed by indulgent, authoritarian and neglect parenting styles. Cohesion with mothers for youth with authoritative or indulgent mothers was higher for girls than boys. Adolescents' expectation for behavioral autonomy mediated the links between parenting style and conflict, whereas adolescents' beliefs about the legitimacy of parental authority mediated the links between parenting style and cohesion; some of these mediating effects differed by gender. Findings highlight the importance of studying potential effects of adolescents' values and attitudes within the family system in specific cultural contexts.
Project description:African-American adolescents exposed to neighborhood disadvantage are at increased risk for engaging in problem behavior and academic underachievement. It is critical to identify the mechanisms that reduce problem behavior and promote better academic outcomes in this population. Based on social disorganization and socioecological theories, the current prospective study examined pathways from parental monitoring to academic outcomes via externalizing behavior at different levels of neighborhood disadvantage. A moderated mediation model employing maximum likelihood was conducted on 339 African-American students from 9th to 11th grade (49.3% females) with a mean age of 14.8 years (SD ± 0.35). The results indicated that parental monitoring predicted low externalizing behavior, and low externalizing behavior predicted better academic outcomes after controlling for externalizing behavior in 9th grade, intervention status, and gender. Mediation was supported, as the index of mediation was significant. Conversely, neighborhood disadvantage did not moderate the path from parental monitoring to externalizing behavior. Implications for intervention at both community and individual levels and study limitations are discussed.
Project description:Adolescence is a crucial life course phase for identity formation, and youths' gender ideologies significantly predict gendered behaviours and longer-term transitions. With Western post-industrial societies becoming more culturally diverse, the present study provides novel cross-nationally comparative evidence on gender socialisation processes among native and immigrant youth in Sweden, Germany, England, and the Netherlands, which vary in gender and migration policies and cultures. In addition to parents' gender ideologies, the study also considers classmates' gender ideologies as factors shaping 14-year-old adolescents' gender ideologies. The analysis draws on 5917 adolescent-parent dyads from the Children of Immigrants Longitudinal Study which we link with country-level gender empowerment measures from the United Nations. Remarkably, with the exception of native female adolescents in England and Germany, parents tend to report slightly more egalitarian beliefs than adolescents across the four countries. OLS regressions show that parents' and classmates' gender ideologies correlate significantly with adolescents' ideologies, with little variation across gender and immigrant groups in all four countries. From a policy and practical point of view, the great similarity in the intergenerational transmission of gender beliefs across diverse family backgrounds as well as cultural and policy contexts seem remarkable.
Project description:This study focuses on science teachers' first encounter with computational modeling in professional development workshops. It examines the factors shaping the teachers' self-efficacy and attitudes towards integrating computational modeling within inquiry-based learning modules for 9th grade physics. The learning modules introduce phenomena, the analysis of measurement data, and offer a method for coordinating the experimental findings with a theory-based computational model. Teachers' attitudes and self-efficacy were studied using survey questions and workshop activity transcripts. As expected, prior experience in physics teaching was related to teachers' self-efficacy in teaching physics in 9th grade. Also, teachers' prior experience with programming was strongly related to their self-efficacy regarding the programming component of model construction. Surprisingly, the short interaction with computational modeling increased the group's self-efficacy, and the average rating of understanding and enjoyment was similar among teachers with and without prior programming experience. Qualitative data provides additional insights into teachers' predispositions towards the integration of computational modeling into the physics teaching.
Project description:Importance:Nevi are important phenotypic risk factors for melanoma in adults. Few studies have examined the constitutional and behavioral factors associated with a mole-prone phenotype in adolescents. Objective:To identify host, behavioral, and dermoscopic factors in early adolescence (age, 14 years) that are associated with a mole-prone phenotype in late adolescence (age, 17 years). Design, Setting, and Participants:A prospective observational cohort study from the Study of Nevi in Children was conducted from January 1, 2009, to December 31, 2014, with a 2- to 3-year follow-up. A total of 569 students from the school system in Framingham, Massachusetts, were enrolled in the 8th or 9th grade (baseline; mean [SD] age, 14.4 [0.7] years). The overall retention rate was 73.3%, and 417 students were reassessed in the 11th grade. Main Outcome and Measures:Mole-prone phenotype in the 11th grade, defined as total nevus count of the back and 1 randomly selected leg in the top decile of the cohort or having any nevi greater than 5 mm in diameter. Results:Of the 417 students assessed at follow-up in the 11th grade (166 females and 251 males; mean [SD] age, 17.0 [0.4] years), 111 participants (26.6%) demonstrated a mole-prone phenotype: 69 students (62.2%) with 1 nevus greater than 5 mm in diameter, 23 students (20.7%) with total nevus count in the top decile, and 19 students (17.1%) with both characteristics. On multivariate analysis, baseline total nevus count (adjusted odds ratio, 9.08; 95% CI, 4.0-23.7; P?<?.001) and increased variability of nevus dermoscopic pattern (adjusted odds ratio, 4.24; 95% CI, 1.36-13.25; P?=?.01) were associated with a mole-prone phenotype. Conclusions and Relevance:This study found clinically recognizable factors associated with a mole-prone phenotype that may facilitate the identification of individuals at risk for melanoma. These findings could have implications for primary prevention strategies and help target at-risk adolescents for higher-intensity counseling about sun protection and skin self-examination.
Project description:According to modern expectancy-value theory, students' motivation in school subjects begins to vary at the very beginning of their school careers, showing a task-specific pattern of motivation. However, there is no clear evidence in the literature on how students' value beliefs are formed and interact with each other in early elementary schools. Using the longitudinal structural equation modeling, this study examined relations between science-related task values (i.e., intrinsic value and cost), self-concept of ability, and future occupational aspirations based on first graders and 1-year follow-up from seven schools in Helsinki (N = 332; ages = 7 and 8 years; girls = 51%). Results showed that the students who had a high science-related self-concept of ability and intrinsic value tended to perceive low cost of science learning. Science-related self-concept of ability was the most stable construct, while in intrinsic value and cost, there were significant levels of fluctuation across the first and second grades. A high science-related self-concept of ability in the first grade predicted a lower cost value in the second grade, and a high science-related intrinsic value was a marginally significant predictor of future occupational aspirations in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Mean-level differences revealed that the girls' science-related self-concept of ability, intrinsic value, and cost remained the same in both grades, while the boys' self-concept of ability decreased. The girls' mean levels in science-related intrinsic value were higher than those of the boys, while students' self-concept of ability and cost were similar across gender in both grades. A cross-lagged panel model revealed that the girls reported more STEM occupational aspirations than the boys in the second grade, while controlling for the motivational beliefs. In summary, the results indicate that a high-level of science interest in young students predicts STEM occupational aspirations; high girls' intrinsic value in early science education does not steer them away from STEM occupations; boys' task motivation might be at greater risk of decline during early science education.
Project description:Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) pose a significant threat to individual and public health. They disproportionately affect adolescents and young adults. In a cross-sectional study, we assessed self-rated and factual STI knowledge in a sample of 9th graders in 13 secondary schools in Berlin, Germany. Differences by age, gender, migrant background, and school type were quantified using bivariate and multivariable analyses. A total of 1177 students in 61 classes participated. The mean age was 14.6 (SD = 0.7), 47.5% were female, and 52.9% had at least one immigrant parent. Knowledge of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) was widespread, but other STIs were less known. For example, 46.2% had never heard of chlamydia, 10.8% knew of the HPV vaccination, and only 2.2% were aware that no cure exists for HPV infection. While boys were more likely to describe their knowledge as good, there was no general gender superiority in factual knowledge. Children of immigrants and students in the least academic schools had lower knowledge overall. Our results show that despite their particular risk to contract an STI, adolescents suffer from suboptimal levels of knowledge on STIs beyond HIV. Urgent efforts needed to improve adolescent STI knowledge in order to improve the uptake of primary and secondary prevention.
Project description:A wide-spread stereotype that influences women's paths into STEM (or non-STEM) fields is the implicit association of science and mathematics with "male" and with requiring high levels of male-associated "brilliance." Recent research on such "field-specific ability beliefs" has shown that a high emphasis on brilliance in a specific field goes along with a low share of female students among its graduates. A possible mediating mechanisms between cultural expectations and stereotypes on the one hand, and women's underrepresentation in math-intensive STEM fields on the other hand, is that women may be more likely than men to feel that they do not belong in these fields. In the present study, we investigated field-specific ability beliefs as well as belonging uncertainty in a sample of n = 1294 male and female university students from five STEM fields (Mathematics, Physics, Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering) at a prestigious technical university in Switzerland. Field-specific ability beliefs of both men and women emphasized brilliance more in more math-intensive fields (Mathematics, Physics) than in less math-intensive fields (Engineering). Women showed higher beliefs in brilliance than men did, and also reported higher levels of belonging uncertainty. For both genders, there was a small, positive correlation (r = 0.19) of belief in brilliance and belonging uncertainty. A relatively small, but significant portion of the effect of gender on belonging uncertainty was mediated by women's higher belief in brilliance.
Project description:Physics is fundamental to secure future needs for scientific and technological competence (Angell et al., 2004), but many countries experience a drop in students' performances in international assessments (Organisation for Economic Co-operation Development [OECD], 2018), as well as in rates of enrolment in undergraduate programs in scientific disciplines (STEM). Socio-constructivist theories have produced a reforming movement in several educational systems, in particular in the area of sciences, but teacher often consider them an idealistic view of education and do not consider themselves metacognitively competent enough to foster thinking in the classroom. In this study, we investigated the efficacy of different teaching methods on high-school students' conceptual knowledge of physics, after the effect of science-related beliefs and critical thinking skills was controlled. We adopted a mixed-method with sequential design, in which quantitative and qualitative data flow are inter-mixed. In specific, we interviewed four high school physics teachers to identify teaching approaches (qualitative approach) and compared them in terms of efficacy on students' performances (quantitative approach). Four teachers and 77 10th grade students participated. Teachers were interviewed during the school years and asked questions about their teaching experience, their teaching approach (Kang and Wallace, 2005) and their epistemic beliefs (Tsai, 2002). Students performances in Science-related beliefs (Conley et al., 2004), critical thinking (Cornell Critical Thinking Test Level X, Millman et al., 2005), and conceptual knowledge in physics (The Force and Motion Conceptual Evaluation, Ramlo, 2002) were evaluated twice, at the beginning and at the end of the school year. The independent-sample t-tests on pre-test variables did not reveal any statistically significant difference between groups. Results from the complex samples GLM revealed statistically significant differences on post-test scores in conceptual knowledge in physics, after the effect of covariates was controlled. Overall, the study contributes to our understanding on current teaching practices in school, and their effect on students' conceptual understanding of physics concepts.
Project description:One of the most powerful determinants of course selection in upper secondary level is undoubtedly students' self-concept. Students with a high self-concept in a domain are more likely to select a course in that domain. However, according to the dimensional comparison theory, the formation of self-concept includes comparison processes with self-concepts in other domains. Regarding gender, females are less likely to choose physics and are more likely to have lower STEM self-concepts as well as lower aspirations toward STEM careers than males. In Germany, students in Grade 10 choose specific academic tracks to attend during upper secondary school. The academic track choice goes in hand with choosing advanced courses. This choice entails the decision about whether to pursue STEM subjects. We adopted the person-centered approach of latent profile analysis (LPA) to investigate the patterns of students' self-concepts across the five domains, math, biology, reading, English, and physics. Furthermore, we investigated how those patterns influence educational choices regarding science subjects in upper secondary school in Germany. Based on a sample of 1,658 students, we tested whether the distinct profiles of self-concept in different domains in Grade 8 predicted gendered science course selection in Grade 10 as well as career aspirations in science. LPAs yielded four distinct profiles of self-concept that differed in level and shape: high math, high verbal, low overall, and high overall. These profiles were equivalent across gender. Gender differences were manifested in the relative distribution across the four profiles: females were more present in the low overall and high verbal-related self-concept profiles and males in the overall high and high math-related self-concept profiles. The profiles differed regarding abilities, choice of science course in upper secondary level, and science career aspirations.