Science diaries improve student motivation in science

National Science Foundation

From NSF  --  Student interest and achievement in science drop precipitously during the middle-school years. But an National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded classroom study found that prompting middle-school students to write self-assessments of their mastery and interest in science improved their motivation to learn science. Increases in desire to master science concepts predicted content knowledge and collaboration in science.

The act of composing written diary entries describing interests in and understanding of science caused students to more strongly adopt a goal of mastering scientific concepts encountered in class. The writing activity also affected student enjoyment of science lessons and their perception that science is valuable. Students in the study who adopted mastery goals achieved higher grades for science content knowledge and collaboration. Students who reported greater interest in their science lessons also reported a greater personal interest in science.

These findings demonstrate that simple classroom activities can affect student motivation and can improve interest in science. Implementing interventions like the writing assessment may halt declines in science interest and achievement.

To learn more about this NSF-funded research, visit Research.gov (link is external).

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