Background: The role of students’ epistemic understanding of science in mediating their engagement in learning activities and tasks has been highlighted in the literature. Although researchers recognize epistemic knowledge of science as a multi-faceted framework, the so-called person-centered approach that aims to generate meaningful and distinct profiles has not been widely adopted. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to explore Taiwanese high school students’ epistemic knowledge profiles and learning engagements in science. Sample: 631 high school students from six senior high schools in Taiwan were invited to participate in the study. There were 375 males and 256 females. The age of these students ranged from 15 to 18 years, with an average age of 16.84. Design and methods: The students’ epistemic knowledge profiles were surveyed and categorized in terms of three critical dimensions of epistemic understanding of scientific knowledge (Uncertainty of Knowledge, Development of Knowledge, and Purpose of Knowledge). Besides, five forms of science learning engagement (Cognitive, Behavioral, Emotional, Social, and Agentic engagement) were evaluated and then compared based on the classified epistemic knowledge profiles. Results: Three epistemic profiles, namely Highly uncertain yet low purpose, Informed yet highly certain, and Uninformed, were identified. Furthermore, the students of the Informed yet highly certain profile had the highest scores on all the five forms of engagement. Yet, the students in the Highly uncertain yet low purpose and Uninformed profiles did not show significant differences in terms of Behavioral, Agentic, Emotional, or Social engagement. Conclusion: The findings suggest that none of the students in any profiles demonstrated fully sophisticated epistemic understanding of scientific knowledge, and this had different effects on their multifaceted science learning engagement. Moreover, the students demonstrated highly uncertain orientation toward scientific knowledge which may hinder their science learning engagement.
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