ERIC Number: EJ1126202
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Abstractor: As Provided
The Dimensions and Impact of Informal Science Learning Experiences on Middle Schoolers' Attitudes and Abilities in Science
Lin, Pei-Yi; Schunn, Christian D.
International Journal of Science Education, v38 n17 p2551-2572 2016
Learners encounter science in a wide variety of contexts beyond the science classroom which collectively could be quite influential on student attitudes and abilities. But relatively little is known about the relative influence of different forms of informal science experiences, especially for the kinds of experiences that students typically access. We conduct factor and regression analyses on data collected from a large number of diverse public-school attending 6th and 8th graders drawn from two regions in the USA. Students completed a science reasoning measure and surveys of attitudes, previously completed informal science learning experiences, and demographic factors. Factor analyses identify four dimensions of informal science learning participation (in home, semiformal, nature, and museums). Regression analyses find a relative specificity of effects, with particular outcomes associated with a subset of the forms of informal science participation, highlighting the importance of controlling for correlated factors. There were also a few differences by grade level, with different experiences influencing the development of competency beliefs in science in early vs. late middle schoolers.
Descriptors: Middle School Students, Science Education, Student Attitudes, Informal Education, Correlation, Factor Analysis, Museums, Family Environment, Instructional Program Divisions, Student Surveys, Science Interests, Self Concept, Learning Experience, Values, Learning Motivation, Prior Learning, Multiple Regression Analysis, Measures (Individuals), Thinking Skills, Grade 6, Grade 8
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Middle Schools; Secondary Education; Junior High Schools; Grade 6; Intermediate Grades; Elementary Education; Grade 8
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh); California (San Francisco)
Grant or Contract Numbers: DRL1348468