Motivation Studies: A) How does the onset of puberty, as evidenced by the presence of sex hormones, influence students’ motivation to engage with science? B) Which online instructional practices enhance or diminish students’ motivation to engage with science? How do online environments compare with face-to-face instruction concerning their motivational efficacy?

Leading team

Prof. David Fortus

Postdocs and students

Ella Ofek

Shira Passentin

Summary

The motivation to engage with science in and out of school often decline during adolescence.  This project looks at the various environmental factors and experiences that shape adolescents’ attitudes towards science, their interest in science, the self-efficacy for engaging with science and their motivation to do so.  It also considers the influence of several steroid hormones that begin to appear during puberty. Our work is both small and large scale: A) we follow students for several years, during and after school, to see how their parents, siblings, friends, after-school clubs, science teachers, all interact to influence the shaping of their stance towards science, and B) using surveys we collect information from hundreds and thousands of students, their teachers and their parents to develop model that explain and allow us to predict how their motivation towards science will change. We have looked at traditional low-SES and mid-high SES schools, democratic schools, Waldorf schools, and religious schools.  Future studies will involve whole-school and class-based interventions to try and reverse the decline in many students’ motivation to engage with science.

Related articles

  • Vedder-Weiss, D. and D. Fortus (2011). Adolescents’ declining motivation to learn science: Inevitable or not? Journal of Research in Science Teaching 48(2): 199-216.
  • Vedder-Weiss, D. and D. Fortus (2012). Students’ declining motivation to learn science: A follow up study. Journal of Research in Science Teaching 49(9): 1057-1095.
  • Vedder-Weiss, D. (2012). Characterizing environmental factors that are associated with adolescents’ motivation to learn science in and out of school. Science and Mathematics Teaching. Rehovot, Israel, Weizmann Institute of Science. PhD.
  • Vedder-Weiss, D. and D. Fortus (2013). School, teacher, peers and parents’ goals emphases and adolescents’ motivation to learn science in and out of school. Journal of Research in Science Teaching 50(8), pp. 952-988.
  • Fortus, D. & Vedder-Weiss, D. (2014). Measuring Students’ Continuing Motivation for Science Learning. Journal of Research in Science Teaching 51(4), pp. 497-522.
  • Fortus, D (2014). Attending to Affect. Journal of Research in Science Teaching 51(7), pp. 821-835.
  • Fortus, D. & Daphna, L. (2017). Adolescents’ Goal Orientations for Science in Single-Gender Religious Schools, International Journal of Science Education 39(1), 86-103.
  • Vedder-Weiss, D. & Fortus, D. (2017). Teachers’ Mastery Goals: Using a Self-Report Survey to Study the Relations between Teaching Practices and Students’ Motivation for Science Learning. Research in Science Education.
  • Dorfman, B. & Fortus, D. (2019). Students’ Self-efficacy for Science in Different School Systems. Journal of Research in Science Teaching. 1-23.
  • Fortus, D., & Daphna, L. (2020). When goals do not concur: Conflicting perceptions of school science. Disciplinary and Interdisciplinary Science Education Research, 2(6), 1-17.