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Keywords:

  • motivation;
  • goals;
  • adolescents;
  • school culture

Abstract

This is a mix methods follow-up study in which we reconfirm the findings from an earlier study [Vedder-Weiss & Fortus [2011] Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 48(2), 199–216]. The findings indicate that adolescents' declining motivation to learn science, which was found in many previous studies [Galton [2009] Moving to secondary school: Initial encounters and their effects. Perspectives on Education, 2(Primary-secondary Transfer in Science), 5–21. Retrieved from www.wellcome.ac.uk/perspectives; Osborne, Simon, & Collins, [2003] International Journal of Science Education 25(9), 1049–1079], is not an inevitable phenomenon since it appears not to occur in Israeli democratic schools. In addition to reinforcing previous results in a different sample, new results show that the differences between the two school types are also apparent in terms of students' self-efficacy in science learning, students' perceptions of their teachers' goals emphases, and students' perception of their peers' goals orientation. Quantitative results are accompanied by rich verbal examples of ways in which students view and articulate their own and their teachers' goal emphases. Content analysis of students' interviews showed that students in traditional schools are directed more towards goals that are external and related to the outcome of learning in comparison to democratic school students who are motivated more by goals that are internal and related to the process of learning. Structure analysis of these interviews suggests that democratic school students experience a greater sense of autonomy in their science learning than traditional school students do. Implications for research on students' motivation are discussed, such as considering not only the teacher and the classroom but also the school culture. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 49: 1057–1095, 2012