Motivation and studying in high school science



Three groups of high school science students (college-bound and non-college-bound freshmen, college-bound juniors and seniors) completed surveys measuring their beliefs in the utility of four kinds of study strategies, three types of motivational orientation to science (task orientation, ego orientation, and work avoidance), their reported ability, and attitude toward science. Results indicated that belief in the usefulness of strategies requiring deep processing of information was more strongly positively related to task orientation than to ego orientation in all groups. For the younger groups only, task orientation was positively related to belief in the utility of surface-level strategies (e.g., rote memorization of facts). Task orientation proved to be the best predictor of student beliefs in deep-processing strategies, above and beyond that explained by perceived ability and interest in science. The implications of these findings for the current and future goals of science educators are discussed.