When students lead : investigating the impact of the CREST inquiry-based learning programme on changes in self-regulated processes and related motivations among young science students
Moote, Julie Katherine
This thesis explores the impact of an inquiry-based learning programme on students’ self-reported levels of self-regulated processes and related motivations in the science classroom. Appreciating the interest seen in developing self-regulated learning and motivation in young students (Gläser-Zikuda & Järvelä, 2008; Zimmerman, 2002) and considering current discussions regarding the way science is taught around the globe (Kalman, 2010, Leou, Abder, Riordan, & Zoller, 2006), it was deemed important to explore the development of these constructs in young science students through participation in a curriculum initiative currently being implemented across the UK - the CREativity in Science and Technology (CREST) programme. The three studies included in this thesis followed a longitudinal quasi-experimental design using a naturalistic setting. After placing the research within a theoretical framework (Chapters 1 & 2) and describing the pilot work and methodology for the three investigations (Chapter 3), Study 1 (presented in Chapter 4) explored the impact of the CREST programme on developing self-regulated processes and related motivations in young students (n=34) compared to a control group of students from the same school (n=39). The findings indicated that students participating in the programme experienced significant increases in their self-reported levels of self-regulated learning and career motivation in comparison to the control group of students and that these developments were retained six months following programme completion. The results also demonstrated the potential for the CREST programme to reduce the decreasing trends relating to self-determination and intrinsic motivation found in the control group and reported in the wider literature in the field. Study 2 (presented in Chapter 5) built on the methodology of Study 1 and investigated class differences in response to the CREST programme. Study 2 aimed firstly to replicate the findings from Study 1 regarding group differences in self-reported levels from pre-test to post-test on the measured variables. While a reference control class (n=18) showed no significant changes from pre-test to post-test, on average, students taking part in the CREST programme showed significant increases in self-regulated learning, self-determination, self-efficacy, intrinsic motivation, and overall science motivation. However, due to the lack of an appropriate control group of equal size (n=160), conclusions were drawn cautiously. Another aim of this second study was to gain an understanding of whether individual classes of students experienced the programme differently and identify classroom dynamics that might predict the degree of benefit students obtain. The findings showed no class differences in response to the CREST programme relating to the self-regulated processes and related motivational constructs measured, and highlighted the sensitivity of the analyses used in classroom effects research. Study 3 (presented in Chapter 6) followed a similar quasi-experimental design (n=188) to Studies 1 and 2, with the addition of another intervention condition of students who had participated in CREST the year before the study was conducted. This, more, rigorous methodological design allowed for longer-term retention effects to be investigated. The results from this study highlighted the immediate and three-month delayed impact of the CREST programme on increasing self-reported for this sample of students. However, retention at the nine-month delayed post-test was not observed, suggesting that strategies need to be in place in order to maintain any developments through CREST programme participation. Teacher ratings of students’ self-regulated learning were also measured and did not align with the students’ self-reported results, highlighting the difficulty for teachers to identify and quantify internal processes like self-regulation among their students. While extensive research has been conducted on self-regulated processes and related motivations in students of all ages, the need for an increased understanding in natural classroom settings through implementing more rigorous research designs in specific learning contexts has been identified. Bringing the findings together, the three studies included in this thesis illustrate the beneficial impact of CREST programme participation on self-regulated processes and related motivations in young science students. The series of intervention studies presented provides a distinct contribution to research, demonstrating that these constructs can be developed in natural classroom settings by promoting an environment that encourages students to be more self-regulated and motivated in their science learning.