Distinguished Professor Jacquelynne Eccles has published with colleagues in the Journal of Research in Science Teaching: "Uncovering Young Children's Motivational Beliefs about Learning Science."
Oppermann, E., Brunner, M., & Eccles, J. S. (November 2017). Uncovering young children's motivational beliefs about learning science. Journal of Research in Science Teaching. DOI: 10.1002/tea.21424
Young children, ages 5–6 years, develop first beliefs about science and themselves as science learners, and these beliefs are considered important precursors of children's future motivation to pursue science. Yet, due to a lack of adequate measures, little is known about young children's motivational beliefs about learning science. The present two-part study explores the motivational beliefs of young children using a new measure—the Young Children's Science Motivation (Y-CSM) scale. Initial measurement development involved a thorough literature review of existing measures, and an extensive piloting phase until a final instrument was reached. To establish scale reliability, measurement invariance as well construct and criterion validity, the final instrument was administered to a new sample of 277 young children, ages 5–6 years, in northern Germany. Results reveal that children's motivational beliefs can be empirically differentiated into their self-confidence and enjoyment in science at this young age. Older children were more motivated in science, but no significant gender differences were found. Importantly, children in preschools with a science focus reported significantly higher science motivation. This finding stresses the importance of early science education for the development of children's motivational beliefs about science.