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Relationships among constructivist learning environment perceptions, motivational beliefs, self-regulation and science achievement

TAŞ, Yasemin
GÖK, Gulsum
Sungur, Semra
BackgroundThere are attempts to integrate learning environment research with motivation and self-regulation research that considers social context influences an individual's motivation, self-regulation and, in turn, academic performance.PurposeThis study explored the relationships among constructivist learning environment perception variables (personal relevance, uncertainty, shared control, critical voice, student negotiation), motivational beliefs (self-efficacy, intrinsic interest, goal orientation), self-regulation, and science achievement.SampleThe sample for this study comprised 802 Grade 8 students from 14 public middle schools in a district of Ankara in Turkey.Design and methodsStudents were administered 4 instruments: Constructivist Learning Environment Survey, Goal Achievement Questionnaire, Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire, and Science Achievement Test. LISREL 8.7 program with SIMPLIS programming language was used to test the conceptual model. Providing appropriate fit indices for the proposed model, the standardized path coefficients for direct effects were examined.ResultsAt least one dimension of the constructivist learning environment was associated with students' intrinsic interest, goal orientation, self-efficacy, self-regulation, and science achievement. Self-efficacy emerged as the strongest predictor of both mastery and performance avoidance goals rather than the approach goals. Intrinsic value was found to be significantly linked to science achievement through its effect on self-regulation. The relationships between self-efficacy and self-regulation and between goal orientation and science achievement were not significant.ConclusionsIn a classroom environment supporting student autonomy and control, students tend to develop higher interest in tasks, use more self-regulatory strategies, and demonstrate higher academic performance. Science teachers are highly recommended to consider these findings when designing their lessons. For the creation of such a learning environment, teachers can design open-ended inquiry activities in which students have opportunities to take responsibility, reflect on their views, and accomplish challenging tasks.