Advertisement

A motivational model of persistence in science education: A self-determination theory approach

  • Geneviève L. Lavigne
  • Robert J. Vallerand
  • Paule Miquelon
Article

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to propose and test a motivational model of persistence in science education. The model posits that science teachers’ support of students’ autonomy positively influences students’ self-perceptions of autonomy and competence. These self-perceptions, in turn, have a positive impact on students’ self-determined motivation toward science which leads to their intentions to pursue science education and eventually work in a scientific domain. This model was tested with high school students (n=728). Results from univariate analyses of variance and from structural equation modeling analyses (with LISREL) were found to support the proposed model. In addition, a direct link was obtained between perceptions of competence and intentions to pursue a science education, indicating that higher levels of perceived competence predicted higher levels of persistence intentions. The present findings support Self-Determination Theory and open the way to future research from a motivational approach in this area.

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to propose and test a motivational model of persistence in science education. The model posits that science teachers’ support of students’ autonomy positively influences students’ self-perceptions of autonomy and competence. These self-perceptions, in turn, have a positive impact on students’ self-determined motivation toward science which leads to their intentions to pursue science education and eventually work in a scientific domain. This model was tested with high school students (n=728). Results from univariate analyses of variance and from structural equation modeling analyses (with LISREL) were found to support the proposed model. In addition, a direct link was obtained between perceptions of competence and intentions to pursue a science education, indicating that higher levels of perceived competence predicted higher levels of persistence intentions. The present findings support Self-Determination Theory and open the way to future research from a motivational approach in this area.

Key words

Self-determined motivation Science education Persistence 

References

  1. Ajzen, I., & Fishbein, M. (1980).Understanding attitudes and predicting social behavior. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  2. Ames, C. (1992). Classrooms: Goals, structures, and student motivation.Journal of Educational Psychology, 84, 261–271.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bandura, A. (1986).Social foundation of thought and action: A social cognitive theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  4. Bandura, A., & Schunk, D.H. (1981). Cultivating competence, self-efficacy, and intrinsic interest through proximal self-motivation.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 41, 586–598.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Betz, N.E., & Hackett, G. (1983). The relationship of mathematics self-efficacy expectations to the selection of science-based college majors.Journal of Vocational Behavior, 23, 329–345.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Black, A.E., & Deci, E.L. (2000). The effects of instructors’ autonomy support and students’ autonomous motivation on learning organic chemistry: A self-determination theory perspective.Science Education, 84, 740–756.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brickell, T.A., Chatzisarantis, N.L., & Pretty, G.M. (2006). Autonomy and control: Augmenting the validity of the theory of planned behaviour in predicting exercise.Journal of Health Psychology, 11, 51–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Carpenter, P.G., & Fleishman, J.A. (1987). Linking intentions and behavior: Australian students’ college plans and college attendance.American Educational Research Journal, 24, 79–105.Google Scholar
  9. Chatzisarantis, N.L.D., Hagger, M.S., Smith, B., & Phoenix, C. (2004). The influences of continuation intentions on execution of social behaviour within the theory of planned behaviour.British Journal of Social Psychology, 43, 551–583.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cheong, Y.F., Pajares, F., & Oberman, P.S. (2004). Motivation and academic help-seeking in high school computer science.Computer Science Education, 14, 3–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Csikszentmihalyi, M., & Nakamura, J. (1989). The dynamics of intrinsic motivation: A study of adolescents. In C. Ames & R. Ames (Eds.),Research on motivation and education: Vol. 3. Goals and cognitions (pp. 45–71). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  12. Deci, E.L. (1975).Intrinsic motivation. New-York: Plenum.Google Scholar
  13. Deci, E.L. (1980).The psychology of self-determination. Lexington, MA: DC Heath.Google Scholar
  14. Deci, E.L., & Ryan, R.M. (1985).Intrinsic motivation and self-determination in human behavior. New York: Plenum.Google Scholar
  15. Deci, E.L., & Ryan, R.M. (1991). A motivational approach to self: Integration in personality. In R. Dienstbier (Ed.),Nebraska Symposium on Motivation: Vol. 38. Perspectives on motivation (pp. 237–288). Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.Google Scholar
  16. Deci, E.L., & Ryan, R.M. (2000). The what and why of goal pursuits: Human needs and the self-determination of behavior.Psychological Inquiry, 11, 227–268.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Deci, E.L., Nezlek, J., & Sheinman, L. (1981). Characteristics of the rewarder and intrinsic motivation of the rewardee.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 40, 1–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Deci, E.L., Vallerand, R.J., Pelletier, L.G., & Ryan, R.M. (1991). Motivation in education: The self-determination perspective.The Educational Psychologist, 26, 325–346.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Désert, M., Croizet, J.C., & Leyens, J.P. (2002). La menace du stéréotype: Une interaction entre situation et identité.L’Année Psychologique, 102, 555–576.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Farenga, S.J., & Joyce, B.A. (1999). Intentions of young students to enrol in science courses in the future: An examination of gender differences.Science Education, 83, 55–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Grolnick, W.S., & Ryan, R.M. (1989). Parent styles associated with children’s self-regulation and competence in school.Journal of Educational Psychology, 52, 890–898.Google Scholar
  22. Guay, F., & Vallerand, R.J. (1997). Social context, students’ motivation, and academic achievement: Toward a process model.Social Psychology of Education, 1, 211–233.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Guay, F., Boivin, M., & Hodges, E. (1999). Predicting change in academic achievement: A model of peer experiences and self-system processes.Journal of Educational Psychology, 91, 105–115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Guimond, S., & Roussel, L. (2001). Bragging about one’s school grades: Gender stereotyping and students’ perception of their abilities in science, mathematics, and language.Social Psychology of Education, 4, 275–293.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Guimond, S., & Roussel, L. (2002). L’activation des stéréotypes de genre, l’évaluation de soi et l’orientation scolaire. In J.L. Beauvois, R.V. Joule, & J.M. Monteil (Eds.),Perspectives cognitives et conduites sociales (vol. 8, pp. 163–179). Rennes: Presses Universitaires de Rennes.Google Scholar
  26. Guimond, S., Chatard, A., Martinot, D., Crisp, R.J., & Redersdorff, S. (2006). Social comparison, self-stereotyping, and gender differences in self-construals.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 90, 221–242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Grouzet, F.M., Kasser, T., Ahuvia, A., Dols, J.M., Kim, Y., Lau, S., Ryan, R.M., Saunders, S., Schmuck, P., & Sheldon, K.M. (2005). The structure of goal contents across 15 cultures.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 89, 800–816.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Hackett, G., & Betz, N.E. (1989). An exploration of the mathematics self-efficacy/mathematics performance correspondence.Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 20, 261–273.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hanrahan, M. (1998). The effect of learning environment factors on students’ motivation and learning.International Journal of Science Education, 20, 737–753.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Hardre, P., & Reeve, J. (2003). A motivational model of rural students’ intentions to persist in, versus drop out of, high school.Journal of Educational Psychology, 95, 347–356.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Koestner, R., Ryan, R.M., Bernieri, F., Holt, K. (1984). Setting limits on children’s behavior: The differential effects of controllingvs. informational styles on intrinsic motivation and creativity.Journal of Personality 52(3), 233–248CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Jones, G., Howes, A., & Rua, M. (2000). Gender differences in students’ experiences, interests, and attitudes towards science and scientists.Science Education, 84, 180–192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Kline, R.B. (2005).Principles and practice of structural equation modeling (2nd Edition). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  34. Miserandino, M. (1996). Children who do well in school: Individual differences in perceived competence and autonomy in above-average children.Journal of Educational Psychology, 88, 203–214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Miquelon, P., Vallerand, R.J., Grouzet, F. M. E., & Cardinal, G. (2005). Perfectionism, academic motivation, and psychological adjustment: An integrative model.Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 31, 913–924.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. National Center for Education Statistics, Table 404,Percentage of bachelor’s degrees awarded in science, by field and country: Selected years, 1985 through. Retrieved August 15, 2006, http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d05/tables/dt05_404.asp.Google Scholar
  37. National Science Board. (2000).Science and engineering indicators-2000. Arlington, VA: National Science Foundation.Google Scholar
  38. Noels, K.A. (2001). Learning Spanish as a second language: Learners’ orientations and perceptions of their teachers’ communication style.Language Learning, 51, 107–144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Noels, K.A., Clément, R., & Pelletier, L. G. (2001). Intrinsic, extrinsic, and integrative orientations of French Canadian learners of English.The Canadian Modern Language Review, 57, 23–34.Google Scholar
  40. Osborne, J., Simon, S., & Collins, S. (2003). Attitude towards science: A review of the literature and its implications.International Journal of Science Education, 25, 1049–1079.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Ratelle, C.F., Larose, S., Guay, F., & Senécal, C. (2005). Perceptions of parental involvement and support as predictors of college students’ persistence in a science curriculum.Journal of Family Psychology, 19, 286–293.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Reeve, J. (1998). Autonomy support as an interpersonal motivating style: Is it teachable?Contemporary Educational Psychology, 23, 312–330.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Reeve, J. (2006). Teachers as facilitators: What autonomy-supportive teachers do and why their students benefit.The Elementary School Journal, 106, 225–236.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Reeve, J., & Deci, E.L. (1996). Elements of the competitive situation that affect intrinsic motivation.Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 22, 24–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Reeve, J., Jang, H., Carrell, D., Jeon, S., & Barch, J. (2004). Enhancing students’ engagement by increasing teachers’ autonomy support.Motivation and Emotion, 28, 147–169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Ryan, R.M., & Connell, J.P. (1989). Perceived locus of causality and internalization: Examining reasons for acting in two domains.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 57, 749–761.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Ryan, R.M., & Deci, E.L. (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being.American Psychologist, 55, 68–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Ryan, R.M., & Grolnick, W.S. (1986). Origins and pawns in the classroom: Self-report and projective assessments of individual differences in children’s perceptions.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 50, 550–558.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Sarrazin, P., Vallerand, R., Guillet, E., Pelletier, L., & Cury, F. (2002). Motivation and drop out in female handballers: A 21-month prospective study.European Journal of Social Psychology, 32, 395–418.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Schoon, I. (2001). Teenage job aspirations and career attainment in adulthood: A 17-year follow-up study of teenagers who aspired to become scientists, health professionals, or engineers.International Journal of Behavioral Development, 25, 124–132.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Smith, R.E., Smoll, F.L., & Curtis, B. (1979). Coach effectiveness training: A cognitive-behavioral approach to enhancing relationship skills in youth sport coaches.Journal of Sport Psychology, 1, 59–75.Google Scholar
  52. Statistic Canada, Table 477-0014,University degrees, diplomas and certificates granted, by program level, Classification of Instructional Programs, Primary Grouping and sex. Retrieved July 30, 2006, http://www40.statcan.ca/102/cst01/educ51a_f.htm.Google Scholar
  53. Triandis, H.C. (1995).Individualism and collectivism. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  54. Vallerand, R.J. (1997). Toward a hierarchical model of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. In M.P. Zanna (Ed.),Advances in experimental social psychology (vol. 29, pp. 271–360). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  55. Vallerand, R.J., & Bissonnette, R. (1992). Intrinsic, extrinsic, and motivational styles as predictors of behavior: A prospective study.Journal of Personality, 60, 599–620.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Vallerand, R.J., & Ratelle, C.F. (2002). Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation: A hierarchical model. In E.L. Deci & R.M. Ryan (Eds.),Handbook of self-determination research (pp. 37–69). Rochester, New York: University of Rochester Press.Google Scholar
  57. Vallerand, R.J., & Reid, G. (1984). On the causal effects of perceived competence on intrinsic motivation: A test of cognitive evaluation theory.Journal of Sport Psychology, 6, 94–102.Google Scholar
  58. Vallerand, R.J., Fortier, M.S., & Guay, F. (1997). Self-determination and persistence in a real-life setting: Toward a motivational model of high school dropout.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 72, 1161–1176.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Vallerand, R.J., Blais, M.R., Brière, N.M., & Pelletier, L.G. (1989). Construction et validation de l’Échelle de Motivation en Éducation (EME) (Construction and validation of the French version of the Academic Motivation Scale).Canadian Journal of Behavioral Science, 21, 323–349.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Vallerand, R.J., Deshaies, P., Cuerrier, J., Pelletier, L.G., & Mongeau, C. (1992). Ajzen and Fishbein’s theory of reasoned action as applied to moral behavior: A confirmatory analysis.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 62, 98–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Vallerand, R.J., Pelletier, L.G., Blais, M.R., Brière, N.M., Senécal, C., & Vallières, E.F. (1993). On the assessment of intrinsic, extrinsic and amotivation in education: Evidence on the concurrent and construct validity of the Academic Motivation Scale.Educational and Psychological Measurement, 53, 159–172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Weinburgh, M. (1995). Gender differences in student attitudes toward science: A meta-analysis of the literature from 1970 to 1991.Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 32, 387–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Williams, G.C., & Deci, E.L. (1996). Internalization of biopsychosocial values by medical students: A test of self-determination theory.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 70, 767–779.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Williams, G.C., Gagné, M., Ryan, R.M., & Deci, E.L. (2002). Facilitating autonomous motivation for smoking cessation.Health Psychology, 21, 40–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Williams, G.C., Grow, V.M., Freedman, Z.R., Ryan, R.M., & Deci, E.L. (1996). Motivational predictors of weight loss and weight-loss maintenance.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 70, 115–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Williams, G.C., Rodin, G.C., Ryan, R.M., Grolnick, W.S., & Deci, E.L. (1998). Autonomous regulation and long-term medication adherence in adult outpatients.Health Pasychology, 17, 269–276.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Williams, G.C., Wiener, M.W., Markakis, K.M., Reeve, J., & Deci, E.L. (1994). Medical students’ motivation for internal medicine.Journal of General Internal Medicine, 9, 327–333.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Williams, G.C., McGregor, H.A., Sharp, D., Levesque, C., Kouides, R.W., Ryan, R.M., & Deci, E.L. (2006). Testing a self-determination theory intervention for motivating tobacco cessation: Supporting autonomy and competence in a clinical trial.Health Psychology, 25, 91–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Zusho, A., Pintrich, P.R., & Coppola, B. (2003). Skill and will: The role of motivation and cognition in the learning of college chemistry.International Journal of Science Education, 25, 1081–1094.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Instituto Superior de Psicologia Aplicada, Lisbon, Portugal/ Springer Netherlands 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Geneviève L. Lavigne
    • 1
    • 2
  • Robert J. Vallerand
    • 1
    • 2
  • Paule Miquelon
    • 3
  1. 1.Département de PsychologieUniversité du Québec à MontrealCanada
  2. 2.Laboratoire de recherche sur le comportement social (LRCS)Université du Québec à MontréalCanada
  3. 3.Health Psychology Laboratory, Psychology DepartmentMcGill UniversityMontréalCanada

Personalised recommendations