Identifying Students’ Expectancy-Value Beliefs: A Latent Class Analysis Approach to Analyzing Middle School Students’ Science Self-Perceptions

  • Julia Phelan University of California, Los Angeles
  • Marsha Ing University of California, Riverside
  • Karen Nylund-Gibson University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Richard Brown National Math + Science Initiative
Keywords: STEM education, science motivation


This study extends current research by organizing information about students’ expectancy-value achievement motivation in a way that helps parents and teachers identify specific entry points to encourage and support students’ science aspirations. This study uses latent class analysis to describe underlying differences in ability beliefs and task values and links these science-self-perceptions to interest in science. Findings suggest that there is a positive relationship between students’ science self-perceptions and interest in science which is consistent with previous research (see for example, Author, 2014). The relationship between self-perceptions and interest in science was similar regardless of gender or ethnicity. Despite study limitations, self-perceptions should be considered valuable because teachers have influence on both learning activities and students’ sense of self as a science learner. These results underscore the importance of preparing teachers to foster student desire to learn more science in the future. In organizing the data using this particular methodology, information is provided in a potentially powerful way to target specific interventions or support.

Author Biography

Karen Nylund-Gibson, University of California, Santa Barbara
Associate Professor in the Department of Education