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Two Crucial Years of Science and Technology Schooling: A Longitudinal Study of the Major Influences on and Interactions Between Self-Concept, Interest, and the Intention to Pursue S&T

Abstract

This longitudinal study (N = 540, grades 7 and 8) was conducted over 2 years (four measurement points) with a perceptual construct questionnaire and access to students’ report cards. The changes in interest, self-concept, and the intention to pursue studies and a career in science and technology were explored as well as the reciprocal causal links between them, while also integrating four exogenous variables: achievement, perceived easiness, gender, and pedagogical novelty. Structural equation modeling was used with the partial least squares (PLS) regression technique. The findings indicate that interest and self-concept do not appear to be mutually dependent and that interest mostly depends on pedagogical novelty, perceived easiness, and the intention to pursue while self-concept depends on achievement and perceived easiness. Easiness was identified as a potentially strong predictor of most constructs about the students’ relationship with the topic and even of the intention to pursue.

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Acknowledgements

Special thanks to the following school boards for their financial and organizational help with this project: Commissions scolaires de Montréal, Rivière-du-Nord, des Hautes-Rivières, des Grandes-Seigneuries, and Marie-Victorin. We would also like to thank David Covino (CSDGS), Bénédicte Boissard (CSRDN), Maria Naciri (CDMV), Jean-François Michaud (CSHR), Geneviève Morin (CSDM), and Daniel Lytwynuk (CSDM) for their help collecting data, and all the teachers who accepted to devote class time to this project. Thank you also to the participants for their honesty and their time, to Yannick Skelling-Desmeules for his insight on data analysis, and to Amine Mahhou for his help with data entry.

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Correspondence to Patrice Potvin.

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Potvin, P., Hasni, A., Sy, O. et al. Two Crucial Years of Science and Technology Schooling: A Longitudinal Study of the Major Influences on and Interactions Between Self-Concept, Interest, and the Intention to Pursue S&T. Res Sci Educ 50, 1739–1761 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11165-018-9751-6

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Keywords

  • Longitudinal
  • Interest
  • Self-concept
  • Career intentions
  • Easiness
  • Gender
  • Novelty