Conceptions, Self-Regulation, and Strategies of Learning Science Among Chinese High School Students

Mang Li*, Chunping Zheng, Jyh Chong Liang, Yun Zhang, Chin Chung Tsai

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


This study explored the structural relationships among secondary school students’ conceptions, self-regulation, and strategies of learning science in mainland China. Three questionnaires, namely conceptions of learning science (COLS), self-regulation of learning science (SROLS), and strategies of learning science (SLS) were developed for investigating 333 Chinese high school learners’ conceptions, metacognitive self-regulation, and strategies in science. The confirmatory factor analysis results verified the validity of the three surveys. Moreover, the path analyses revealed a series of interesting findings. Learners with lower-level COLS, namely “memorizing,” “testing,” and “practicing and calculating,” tended to use surface learning strategies such as “minimizing scope of the study” and “rote learning.” However, learners’ higher-level COLS, namely “increase of knowledge,” “applying,” “understanding,” and “seeing in a new way,” had complicated connections with their SROLS and SLS. On the one hand, learners’ higher-level COLS had negative relations to “minimizing scope of the study” and “rote learning.” On the other hand, their higher-level COLS were powerful predicators for their metacognitive self-regulation and further affected their use of “deep strategy” and “rote learning.” Though Chinese secondary students with higher-level COLS usually have a negative view of “rote learning,” the functioning of their metacognitive self-regulation may change their initial attitudes towards the surface strategy. Learners with higher-level COLS still used “rote learning” as a prior step for achieving deep learning. Therefore, we concluded that the SROLS played an important mediating role between the COLS and SLS and may change learners’ original intention to utilize learning strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-87
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Science and Mathematics Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jan 1
Externally publishedYes


  • Approaches to learning
  • Chinese high school students
  • Conceptions of learning science
  • Learning strategies
  • Metacognitive self-regulation
  • Science education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • General Mathematics


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