Meeting students halfway: Increasing self-efficacy and promoting knowledge change in astronomy
Two motivational factors—self-efficacy and interest—may be especially relevant to deepening students’ understanding of astronomy. We examined the relationship between students’ self-efficacy for, interest in learning about, and changes in their knowledge of stars, as measured by the Star Properties Concept Inventory (SPCI). Approximately 700 undergraduate students taking introductory astronomy responded to surveys at the start and end of their semester-long course. A sequential multiple regression analysis showed that self-efficacy post explains an appreciable percentage of variance in SPCI posttest scores, more than twice the percentage explained by all the pretest variables (SPCI, self-efficacy, and interest) combined. Knowledge and self-efficacy improved significantly over instruction; interest did not. Follow-up analyses revealed that instructors whose classes increased in self-efficacy also had the greatest increases in knowledge scores. Interviews with these instructors suggest they provide their students with more opportunities for mastery experiences with elaborated, performance-related feedback, as well as strong positive verbal persuasion and vicarious experiences through peer instruction. Through increased understanding of the relationship between motivational constructs (e.g., self-efficacy, interest) and knowledge, we can both improve our models and better inform instruction.
Bailey, J. M., Lombardi, D., Cordova, J. R., & Sinatra, G. M. (2017). Meeting students halfway: Increasing self-efficacy and promoting knowledge change in astronomy. Physical Review Physics Education Research, 13(2), 020140. https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRe
Department of Teaching and Learning, Temple University | Department of Educational Psychology and Higher Education, University of Nevada Las Ve | Rossier School of Education, University of Southern California
Physical Review Special Topics - Physics Education Research