NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1051423
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 18
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 75
ISSN: ISSN-0267-1522
Using the Theory of Planned Behaviour to Understand Students' Subject Choices in Post-Compulsory Education
Taylor, Rachel Charlotte
Research Papers in Education, v30 n2 p214-231 2015
In recent years, there have been concerns in the UK regarding the uptake of particular subjects in post-compulsory education. Whilst entries for Advanced level (A-level) subjects such as media studies have experienced considerable growth, entries for A-level physics have, until recently, been declining, prompting fears of a skills crisis in future generations. This study applied an established psychological theory, the theory of planned behaviour, to explore the drivers behind students' subject choice at A-level, specifically focusing on students' intentions to study physics and media studies. Multiple regression analyses supported the predictive validity of the theory in this context, with the three predictor variables (attitude, subjective norm and perceived behavioural control) accounting for 66% of the variance in students' intentions to study physics and 68% of the variance in students' intentions to study media studies. Furthermore, for both subjects, attitude and subjective norm were found to be significant predictors of intentions. Hence, students with higher intentions to study physics or media studies exhibited a more positive attitude towards choosing this subject and perceived greater social pressure from significant others. Analysis of the beliefs underlying students' subject choices suggested that the influence of parents was particularly important to students, as were beliefs about the positive outcomes of choosing physics or media studies in terms of student's future career and education prospects. This suggests that initiatives aimed at increasing the uptake of subjects such as physics in the future might be best targeted in these areas.
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom