Comparisons of Science Motivational Beliefs of Adolescents in Taiwan, Australia, and the United States: Assessing the Measurement Invariance Across Countries and Genders

Pey Yan Liou, John J.H. Lin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study utilized international, large-scale assessment data to compare science motivational beliefs of adolescents within and between countries and genders. The study focused on the beliefs about science of eighth graders, including their self-concept in science, the intrinsic value they ascribed to science, and their beliefs about the utility of the subject. The study data were derived from the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study in 2019 (TIMSS) that was conducted in Taiwan, Australia, and the United States. To ensure the validity of mean cross-group comparisons, the measurement invariance (MI) of the constructs was first assessed. The multiple-group confirmatory factor analysis and latent factor mean comparisons were applied to the data. The results indicated that the MI of science motivational beliefs across the three countries attained only metric invariance, rendering a latent mean comparison implausible. However, the cross-gender MI within each country attained scalar invariance, supporting the comparison of means across genders. The science motivational beliefs of females were significantly lower than those of males, with the exception of beliefs of US students about their utility value. The findings of this study raise concerns about the validity of current international comparisons of science motivational beliefs of the students while supporting the use of TIMSS data to identify gender differences in science motivation within each country. The implications of MI across countries and genders are discussed, and the importance of establishing MI is highlighted. The findings affirm that gender disparities in science motivational beliefs can be compared using constructs with sound psychometric properties.

Original languageEnglish
Article number674902
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Volume12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Aug 2

Keywords

  • TIMSS
  • cross-national comparisons
  • gender differences
  • measurement invariance
  • science motivational beliefs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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