Research in Science Education

, Volume 48, Issue 3, pp 575–596 | Cite as

Differentiating the Sources of Taiwanese High School Students’ Multidimensional Science Learning Self-Efficacy: An Examination of Gender Differences

  • Tzung-Jin LinEmail author
  • Chin-Chung TsaiEmail author


The main purpose of this study was to investigate Taiwanese high school students’ multi-dimensional self-efficacy and its sources in the domain of science. Two instruments, Sources of Science Learning Self-Efficacy (SSLSE) and Science Learning Self-Efficacy (SLSE), were used. By means of correlation and regression analyses, the relationships between students’ science learning self-efficacy and the sources of their science learning self-efficacy were examined. The findings revealed that the four sources of the students’ self-efficacy were found to play significant roles in their science learning self-efficacy. By and large, Mastery Experience and Vicarious Experience were found to be the two salient influencing sources. Several gender differences were also revealed. For example, the female students regarded Social Persuasion as the most influential source in the “Science Communication” dimension, while the male students considered Vicarious Experience as the main efficacy source. Physiological and Affective States, in particular, was a crucial antecedent of the female students’ various SLSE dimensions, including “Conceptual Understanding,” “Higher-Order Cognitive Skills,” and “Science Communication.” In addition, the variations between male and female students’ responses to both instruments were also unraveled. The results suggest that, first, the male students perceived themselves as having more mastery experience, vicarious experience and social persuasion than their female counterparts. Meanwhile, the female students experienced more negative emotional arousal than the male students. Additionally, the male students were more self-efficacious than the females in the five SLSE dimensions of “Conceptual Understanding,” “Higher-Order Cognitive Skills,” “Practical Work,” “Everyday Application,” and “Science Communication.”


Secondary school Self-efficacy Social-cognitive theory 



This study was supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan, under grant number 102-2511-S-011-002-MY3 and 103-2511-S-011-003-MY3.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Education, National Taiwan Normal UniversityTaipeiTaiwan
  2. 2.Graduate Institute of Digital Learning and EducationNational Taiwan University of Science and TechnologyTaipeiTaiwan

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