Gender and physics : the relationship between learning orientation, self-confidence, and achievement

Pearce, Renée Deanna (1997) Gender and physics : the relationship between learning orientation, self-confidence, and achievement. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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    Available under License - The author retains copyright ownership and moral rights in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author's permission.
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Abstract

This study explored the relationship between gender, learning orientation, self-confidence and achievement in high school physics students. A sample of 131 physics students in six rural communities throughout Newfoundland were examined to determine a) whether there were any gender differences in learning orientation, self-confidence, and achievement, b) whether learning orientation influenced self-confidence, c) whether learning orientation and self-confidence influenced achievement, and d) whether students' self-confidence changed due to perceived achievement. A one-group pretest-posttest experimental design with all students receiving the same treatment, was used to observe the interaction between these variables. The results of correlations, analyses of variance, and multiple regressions indicated that more differences in achievement were accounted for by learning orientation and self-confidence than by gender. Meaningful learners had higher achievement and higher self-confidence than rote learners. Gender was not significant in predicting learning orientation or achievement. However, males were more confident than females. Learning orientation was most important in influencing pretest levels of self-confidence, which remained stable regardless of actual test performance. These results imply that once established, levels of self-confidence may be difficult to change. A meaningful learning orientation may be important in increasing self-confidence and subsequent understanding of physics concepts. The discussion addresses the importance of promoting a meaningful learning orientation to conceptual understanding and career choices.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/5100
Item ID: 5100
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 102-108.
Department(s): Education, Faculty of
Date: 1997
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada--Newfoundland and Labrador
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Women in science; Sex differences in education; Physics--Study and teaching--Newfoundland and Labrador; Academic achievement

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