When goals do not concur: conflicting perceptions of school science

Authors: David Fortus* and Limor Daphna

Abstract: In this case study we investigated how differences in the achievement goal orientations of a high school biology teacher and her 9th grade (14years old) student led to tensions between them in their perspectives of what it meant to do school science, leading the teacher to under-estimate the student and recommend that she abandon further studies in biology. During 9th grade, Israeli students decide upon their preferred subject of emphasis for the rest of high school. The student wanted to major in biology but the teacher felt it was beyond her abilities. While expectancy-value theory is typically used to explain the mechanism through which under-estimation can lead to a lower sense of self-efficacy and lower performance, the reasons why a science teacher may under-estimate a student have yet to be studied. We analyze both the student and the teacher’s motives and learn that unforeseen obstacles may lie on a student’s road to science.

Keywords: Achievement goals orientation, Motivation, Choice, Under-estimation, Elective courses

Publication: Disciplinary and Interdisciplinary Science Education Research download pdf