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Theses Doctoral

Uncovering Black/African American and Latina/o Students' Motivation to Learn Science: Affordances to Science Identity Development

Mahfood, Denise

The following dissertation reports on a qualitative exploration that serves two main goals: (1) to qualitatively define and highlight science motivation development of Black/African American and Latina/o students as they learn science in middle school, high school, and in college and (2) to reveal through personal narratives how successful entry and persistence in science by this particular group is linked to the development of their science identities. The targeted population for this study is undergraduate students of color in science fields at a college or university. The theoretical frameworks for this study are constructivist theory, motivation theory, critical theory, and identity theories. The methodological approach is narrative which includes students' science learning experiences throughout the course of their academic lives.
I use The Science Motivation Questionnaire II to obtain baseline data to quantitatively assess for motivation to learn science. Data from semi-structured interviews from selected participants were collected, coded, and configured into a story, and emergent themes reveal the important role of science learning in both informal and formal settings, but especially in informal settings that contribute to better understandings of science and the development of science identities for these undergraduate students of color. The findings have implications for science teaching in schools and teacher professional development in science learning.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Science Education
Thesis Advisors
Mensah, Felica
Degree
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
July 7, 2014
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