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CBE Life Sci Educ. 2013 Winter;12(4):606-17. doi: 10.1187/cbe.12-11-0197.

Best practices for measuring students' attitudes toward learning science.

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Department of Educational Psychology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602 Department of Plant Biology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602.


Science educators often characterize the degree to which tests measure different facets of college students' learning, such as knowing, applying, and problem solving. A casual survey of scholarship of teaching and learning research studies reveals that many educators also measure how students' attitudes influence their learning. Students' science attitudes refer to their positive or negative feelings and predispositions to learn science. Science educators use attitude measures, in conjunction with learning measures, to inform the conclusions they draw about the efficacy of their instructional interventions. The measurement of students' attitudes poses similar but distinct challenges as compared with measurement of learning, such as determining validity and reliability of instruments and selecting appropriate methods for conducting statistical analyses. In this review, we will describe techniques commonly used to quantify students' attitudes toward science. We will also discuss best practices for the analysis and interpretation of attitude data.

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