• ANNA UITTOEmail author


The aim of the study was to discover the contribution of students’ interest in school biology, as well as their self-efficacy and attitudes towards different science subjects and mathematics when explaining students’ orientation towards biology-related careers at upper-secondary school. The data of 321 K-11 students (49 % women) were analyzed. Human biology and gene technology was the most interesting topics of biology among the students. The students’ self-efficacy belief was highest in geography and lowest in mathematics. Male students had higher self-efficacy in mathematics and science subjects, but in biology, no gender difference was found. Self-efficacy in biology and geography intercorrelated, as did self-efficacy in mathematics, physics, and chemistry. Regression analysis revealed that interest and self-efficacy in biology and positive attitudes to biology as school subjects explained girls’ orientation towards a biology-related career, as did low self-efficacy in physics and geography. For boys, only interest in biology, positive attitudes to biology as a school subject, and self-efficacy in biology explained their biology-related career orientation. The students’ attitudes and self-efficacy beliefs in science subjects should be taken into account in secondary school biology education, because gender stereotypes and low self-efficacy beliefs may affect students’ future career plans.

Key words

attitude biology chemistry geography interest mathematics physics self-efficacy upper-secondary school 


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Supplementary material

10763_2014_9516_MOESM1_ESM.docx (15 kb)
Appendix 1 The factor items, KMO, Cronbach’s alpha, and the range of factor loadings used to measure students’ interest in different topics of biology (DOCX 15 kb)
10763_2014_9516_MOESM2_ESM.docx (15 kb)
Appendix 2 The factor items, the range of factor loadings, and Cronbach’s alpha used to measure students’ attitudes towards science subjects, geography and mathematics. Bg biology, Phy physics, Ch chemistry, Ge geography, Ma mathematics, KMO = 0.75 – 0.82 (DOCX 14 kb)
10763_2014_9516_MOESM3_ESM.docx (14 kb)
Appendix 3 The items used to measure students’ general academic self-efficacy, Cronbach’ s alpha = 0.79,R reversed items. Range of communalities for the single factor solution is 0.25 – 0.48, KMO = 0.8 (DOCX 14 kb)
10763_2014_9516_MOESM4_ESM.docx (14 kb)
Appendix 4 The items used to measure students’ self-efficacy beliefs in different science subjects. Bg biology, Phy physics, Ch chemistry, Ge geography, Ma mathematics, R reversed items. Range of communalities for the single factor solution is 0.18 – 0.67, KMO = 0.75 – 0.89 (DOCX 14 kb)


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Copyright information

© National Science Council, Taiwan 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland

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