• The Correlation between Academic Achievements, Self-Esteem and Motivation of Female Seventh Grade Students: A Mixed Methods Approach

      Henman, Karen (2010-07-20)
      During the early grades, female students generally display enthusiasm for learning science. As these same students go though school, however, their level of motivation changes. Once female students reach high school, many lack the confidence to take chemistry and physics. Then, in college they lack the background necessary to major in chemistry, physics, and engineering. This study used quantitative data to investigate the correlation between female students' motivation, self-esteem, and standards-based state science achievement tests combined with a qualitative survey of student’s perceptions of parents’ attitudes toward science. The Children’s Science Motivation Inventory (CAIMI) determined students’ levels of motivation toward science. The Coopersmith Self-esteem Inventory (CSEI) ascertained female students’ overall self-esteem. The ISTEP+ exam given in the 6th grade measured the students’ academic achievement in science. Trained examiners who interviewed students comprised the qualitative component of the study. Each examiner elaborated on selected questions from the CSEI and CAIMI to determine the students’ perceptions of parental attitudes toward science. A multiple regression was used to determine the correlation between self-esteem, motivation, and achievement in science. The correlation was strongest between motivation. Interviews revealed parents and teachers had the most influence on students' perception of science. In understanding the correlation between female students’ motivation, achievement, and self-esteem, schools will gain further knowledge into how students relate to the academic field of science and can thus promote females' participation in more science courses in high school. This then will provide females the necessary background knowledge to pursue a greater number of science majors in college.