A simple way to increase children’s perceived science relevance and science self-efficacy
Analyses of data from our Multi-Modal Science Effects Study: Institute for Learning Innovation study reveal a significant and positive relationship between family science TV show watching and science reading.
Over 1,700 fifth and sixth-grade students were asked to rate their level of agreement to eight statements designed to measure a perceived relevance of science such as “Science will be useful in my future” and “Science helps me understand the world around me”. Additionally, students were asked to rate their level of agreement to four statements such as “I think science is interesting” and “I know quite a bit about science”. These particular questions were designed to measure a perceived science self-efficacy.
The ratings for both science relevance and science self-efficacy were then averaged and their relationships to the level of agreement to the questions “My family enjoys watching science shows on TV” and “My family enjoys reading science books or magazine articles” were then analyzed.
Utilizing regressions models, we discovered that for every “unit” of increase in perceived family enjoyment in watching science TV shows, we could predict a corresponding increase of .36 units in a student’s sense of science relevance and an increase of .22 units in their science self-efficacy rating.
We also found that for every “unit” of increase in perceived family enjoyment in reading science books or magazine articles, we could predict a corresponding increase of .41 units in a student’s sense of science relevance and an increase of .26 units in their science self-efficacy rating.
While the regression models we ran don’t prove causation, their statistically significant predictive quality provides us evidence that there definitely is a positive relationship between perceived family enjoyment in science TV watching and science book and magazine article reading and children’s sense of the relevance of science and their own self-efficacy with science.
So, If you have already been watching science-based TV programs with your kids, or reading books or magazines that feature science-related stories- keep it up! And if not, now is the perfect time to start.
Posted Nov 5, 2021