Starting and staying strong: pre‑service primary teachers’ attitudinal profiles towards science learning and their outcomes in an introductory science unit

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Abstract

This paper investigates associations between pre-service primary teachers’ attitudinal profiles towards science learning (n=108) and their learning outcomes in an introductory science unit. It expands on previous work on this cohort that used person-centred analyses (cluster analysis) to identify attitudinal profiles at the start and end of the unit (i.e. Optimal, Promising, Vulnerable, and Uncommitted). In the present study, profile transitions from start to end were calculated to determine transition patterns (i.e. Stays Favourable, Stays Unfavourable, Migrates to Favourable, and Migrates to Unfavourable). Subsequently, one-way multivariate analyses of variance were conducted to test differences in learning outcomes by initial attitudinal profile and transition patterns. Total assignment mark and final exam mark were used as indicators of achievement of unit learning outcomes, while number of quizzes completed was used as an indicator of student commitment to unit assessment. The results indicate that pre-service primary teachers who started the unit with Optimal and Promising profiles achieved better outcomes and engaged more with unit assessment than those who started with Uncommitted or Vulnerable profiles. In terms of transition patterns, starting and staying in a Favourable profile (Optimal and Promising) led to the most successful outcomes, while the opposite was the case for students who started and stayed in the least favourable profiles (Vulnerable and Uncommitted). These findings suggest the importance of the early identification of students whose attitudes towards learning science may show vulnerability or lack of commitment so targeted interventions and suitable adaptations to curriculum and classroom environment can be put in place.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
JournalAustralian Educational Researcher
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Mar 2020

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