The effect of a horseshoe crab citizen science program on middle school student science performance and STEM career motivation

  • Hiller S
  • Kitsantas A
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The purpose of the present quasi-experimental study was to examine the impact of a horseshoe crab citizen science program on student achievement and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) career motivation with 86 (n = 86) eighth-grade students. The treatment group conducted fieldwork with naturalists and collected data for a professional biologist studying horseshoe crab speciation and a mock survey. The comparison group studied curriculum related to horseshoe crabs in the science classroom. A series of measures related to self-efficacy, interest, outcome expectations, choice goals, and content knowledge were given to participants before and after the intervention. It was hypothesized that students would report higher motivational beliefs regarding science and show higher levels of achievement following the intervention than the comparison group. Support was shown for most of the hypotheses. In addition, path analyses indicated that students' motivational beliefs influence content knowledge and outcome expectations, which in turn affect their career goals. These results have implications for incorporating authentic fieldwork within a formal school structure as an effective method for promoting student achievement and STEM career motivation. (As Provided)

Author-supplied keywords

  • Animals
  • Career Choice
  • Comparative Analysis
  • Control Groups
  • Experimental Groups
  • Field Experience Programs
  • Grade 8
  • Hypothesis Testing
  • Intervention
  • Knowledge Level
  • Mathematics Achievement
  • Middle School Students
  • Outdoor Education
  • Path Analysis
  • Quasiexperimental Design
  • STEM Education
  • Science Achievement
  • Science Instruction
  • Self Efficacy
  • Student Interests
  • Student Motivation

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  • Suzanne E Hiller

  • Anastasia Kitsantas

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