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ERIC Number: EJ1093046
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 7
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1084-6522
The Role of Challenge in Students' Engagement and Competence in High School Science Classrooms: Hispanic and Non-Hispanic Whites Compared
Schmidt, Jennifer A.; Kackar-Cam, Hayal Z.; Strati, Anna D.; Shumow, Lee
NCSSS Journal, v20 n1 p20-26 2015
This study explores the associations of ethnicity and perceived challenge with high-school students' academic engagement and perceived competence in science. Data were collected through a variant of the Experience Sampling Method in which participants reported on their levels of engagement, perceived competence, and challenge while in science class, in response to signals from a vibrating pager. Hispanic and non-Hispanic White students reported similar levels of engagement in science, though non-Hispanic Whites reported higher levels of confidence. Results suggest that Hispanic and non-Hispanic White students respond differently to features of the learning environment. For example, while challenge was negatively associated with engagement in general, highly challenging science instruction had a less negative impact on Hispanic students' engagement, and a positive impact on their perceptions of competence relative to non-Hispanic White students. Findings highlight the importance of studying students' perceptions of their classroom learning experiences for understanding ethnicity gaps in STEM areas.
National Consortium of Secondary STEM Schools. e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A