Exploring Tiwanese High School students' conceptions of and approaches to learning science through a structural equation modeling analysis

Min Hsien Lee, Robert E. Johanson, Chin Chung Tsai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

118 Citations (Scopus)


Previous research has established a close link between students' conceptions of learning and approaches to learning. Until recently, only a few quantitative studies have investigated the relationship between high school students' conceptions of learning science and the approaches they adopt to learning science. This study sought to address this gap in the literature by assessing these possible relationships empirically through the development of two questionnaires: The Conceptions of Learning Science (COLS) questionnaire and the Approaches to Learning Science (ALS) questionnaire. Four hundred and seventy-four Taiwanese high school students were administered the COLS questionnaire and the ALS questionnaire. Results were entered into a structural equation model to elicit structural relations between students' conceptions of and their approaches to learning science. Overall, findings revealed that students holding constructivist conceptions of learning science tended to employ deep approaches to learning science. Conceptions of learning science such as "testing" and "calculate and practice" were also found to have effects on the surface approaches to learning science; the conceptions of learning science as "applying" and "understanding and seeing in a new way" had noticeable effects on deep approaches to learning science. This study employed quantitative methods to confirm further the structural relations existing between conceptions of learning science and the motives and strategies employed in learning science. Implications for implementing the study's findings into the context of the real-world classroom are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-220
Number of pages30
JournalScience Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Mar 1
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • History and Philosophy of Science

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