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The effect of grade level on elementary school students' motivational beliefs in science

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2009
Güngören, Savaş
The aim of this study was twofold: first, to investigate the effect of grade level on students’ motivational beliefs (self-efficacy, intrinsic value, mastery goals and performance goals) in science, and second to examine the relationships between students’ motivational beliefs and their science grades. The Turkish version of the Approaches to Learning Instrument (mastery goals and performance goals) and the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (self-efficacy and intrinsic value) were used as data collection instruments. The Turkish version of the Approaches to Learning Instrument (ALI) was adopted into Turkish and pilot tested with 390 elementary school students. The main study was applied to 900 elementary school students in Grades 6 through 8 from 5 randomly selected schools in Bolu. The data obtained from the measuring instruments were analyzed by using Multivariate Analyses of Variance (MANOVA) and correlation analyses. Results of the analyses revealed that grade level has a significant effect on students’ motivational beliefs and as grade level increases student motivation in science declines. Accordingly, 6th grade students are found to be more self-efficacious in science and they show more intrinsic interest in science and study science course for the reasons of learning and mastering as well as showing their abilities to others compared to 7th grade and 8th grade students. Concerning the motivational level of 7 and 8 graders, results also showed that 7 graders’ motivational beliefs are more favorable than 8 graders. Moreover, results revealed significant positive relationships between all motivational belief variables and science grade in all grade levels except for the performance goal orientation. Additionally, significant positive relationships were found among all motivational belief variables.