- How does the onset of puberty, as evidenced by the presence of sex hormones, influence students’ motivation to engage with science?
- Which online instructional practices can enhance or diminish students’ motivation to engage with science?
- How does the motivational efficacy of online environments compare with that of face-to-face instruction?
During adolescence, motivation to engage with science both in and out of school often declines. This project examines the various environmental factors and experiences that shape adolescents’ attitudes towards science, their general interest in science, their self-efficacy for engaging with science and their motivation to do so. It also considers the influence of specific steroid hormones that begin to appear during puberty. The scope of this study is twofold, both narrow and broad:
- The study tracks students over the course of several years, during and after school hours, and notes how their various interactions (with parents, siblings, friends, after-school clubs and science teachers) influence and shape their attitude towards science.
- Survey information collected from thousands of students, their teachers and their parents was employed in the development of a model that explains (and to some extent predicts) changes in the students’ degree of motivation towards science. We have observed traditional low-SES and mid-high-SES schools, democratic schools, Waldorf schools, and religious schools. Future studies will involve school-wide and class-based interventions to try and reverse the decline in motivation to engage with science observed in many students.
Links for further reading
- 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.