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Relationship of constructivist learning environment to student attitudes and achievement in high school mathematics and science

Theresa Marie Dethlefs, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Abstract

This study investigated the relationship of constructivist learning environment and standards-based teaching practices to student achievement and attitudes (self-efficacy, intrinsic value, and learning strategies) in Algebra and Biology. Further, these relationships were examined as a function of student gender and prior achievement. A purposive sample of 804 high school students enrolled in Biology I, Algebra I, or Advanced Algebra was selected for inclusion in this study. ^ Although the dimensions of constructivist learning environment that contributed to predicting student achievement and attitudes varied by content area and criterion, the results of the present study generally provide strong support for a positive relationship between constructivist learning environment and student attitudes, but little support for a direct relationship to student achievement. Teacher reports of overall constructivist learning environment were not correlated with achievement or attitudes. Observer reports of constructivist learning environment were correlated with student intrinsic value and learning strategies. Student reports of constructivist learning environment were correlated with all three attitude measures. Multiple regression findings showed that neither overall constructivist learning environment nor standards-based teaching practices predicted achievement in any of the content areas. Overall constructivist learning environment and standards-based teaching practices were significant positive predictors of student intrinsic value and learning strategies in all three content areas, after controlling for student and classroom demographic variables. Overall constructivist learning environment and standards-based teaching practices were also significant positive predictors of self-efficacy in Algebra 1. In addition, standards-based teaching practices was a significant positive predictor of student self-efficacy in Biology. ^ No specific dimensions of constructivist learning environment were consistently related to student achievement. However, several dimensions of constructivist learning environments emerged as significant predictors of student attitudes, including Personal Relevance, Shared Control, and Student Negotiation. The dimensions of Critical Voice and Uncertainty appeared to be less important in predicting student attitudes. ^

Subject Area

Education, Mathematics|Education, Educational Psychology|Education, Sciences

Recommended Citation

Dethlefs, Theresa Marie, "Relationship of constructivist learning environment to student attitudes and achievement in high school mathematics and science" (2002). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3059944.
http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/dissertations/AAI3059944

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