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Students’ Changing Attitudes and Aspirations Towards Physics During Secondary School

Sheldrake, R; Mujtaba, T; Reiss, MJ; (2019) Students’ Changing Attitudes and Aspirations Towards Physics During Secondary School. Research in Science Education , 49 (6) pp. 1809-1834. 10.1007/s11165-017-9676-5. Green open access

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Abstract

Many countries desire more students to study science subjects, although relatively few students decide to study non-compulsory physics at upper-secondary school and at university. To gain insight into students’ intentions to study non-compulsory physics, a longitudinal sample (covering 2258 students across 88 secondary schools in England) was surveyed in year 8 (age 12/13) and again in year 10 (age 14/15). Predictive modelling highlighted that perceived advice, perceived utility of physics, interest in physics, self-concept beliefs (students’ subjective beliefs of their current abilities and performance) and home support specifically orientated to physics were key predictors of students’ intentions. Latent-transition analysis via Markov models revealed clusters of students, given these factors at years 8 and 10. Students’ intentions varied across the clusters, and at year 10 even varied when accounting for the students’ underlying attitudes and beliefs, highlighting that considering clusters offered additional explanatory power and insight. Regardless of whether three-cluster, four-cluster, or five-cluster models were considered, the majority of students remained in the same cluster over time; for those who transitioned clusters, more students changed clusters reflecting an increase in attitudes than changed clusters reflecting a decrease. Students in the cluster with the most positive attitudes were most likely to remain within that cluster, while students in clusters with less positive attitudes were more likely to change clusters. Overall, the cluster profiles highlighted that students’ attitudes and beliefs may be more closely related than previously assumed, but that changes in their attitudes and beliefs were indeed possible.

Type: Article
Title: Students’ Changing Attitudes and Aspirations Towards Physics During Secondary School
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s11165-017-9676-5
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1007/s11165-017-9676-5
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author(s) 2017. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
Keywords: Cluster, Latent-transition analysis, Physics, Science Stem
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10039957
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