Research in Science Education

, Volume 49, Issue 5, pp 1213–1229 | Cite as

Grade Level Differences in High School Students’ Conceptions of and Motives for Learning Science

  • Ya-Ling WangEmail author
  • Chin-Chung TsaiEmail author


Students’ conceptions of learning science and their relations with motive for learning may vary as the education level increases. This study aimed to compare the quantitative patterns in students’ conceptions of learning science (COLS) and motives for learning science (MLS) across grade levels by adopting two survey instruments. A total of 768 high school students were surveyed in Taiwan, including 204 eighth graders, 262 tenth graders, and 302 12th graders. In the current research, memorizing, testing, and calculating and practicing were categorized as reproductive conceptions of learning science, while increase of knowledge, applying, understanding and seeing-in-a-new-way were regarded as constructivist conceptions. The results of multivariate analyses of variance (MANOVA) revealed that conceptions of learning science are more constructivist as education level increases. Both tenth graders and 12th graders endorsed understanding, seeing-in-a-new-way, and the constructivist COLS composite more strongly than the eighth graders did. In addition, the results of multigroup structural equation modeling (SEM) analysis indicated that the positive relations between testing and reproductive COLS were stronger as the grade level increased, while the negative relations between reproductive COLS and deep motive were tighter with the increase in grade level.


Conceptions of learning science Motives for learning science Grade level differences 



This paper is supported by Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan, under grant number MOST 103-2511-S-011-003-MY3.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Adult and Continuing EducationNational Taiwan Normal UniversityTaipeiTaiwan
  2. 2.Program of Learning Sciences, National Taiwan Normal UniversityTaipeiTaiwan

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