The Relationship between Epistemic and Motivational Beliefs and Student Engagement in Chemistry
Keywords:epistemic beliefs, subjective task value, self-efficacy, student engagement
AbstractStudent engagement is an important determinant of the quality of educational outcomes. Therefore, it is important to examine possible mechanisms explaining students' engagement in learning. The aim of this study was to assess students' engagement and its relationships to motivational and epistemic beliefs in the specific context of learning chemistry. First, we tried to determine to what extent subjective task value of chemistry, self-efficacy in chemistry, selfefficacy in self-regulation, and epistemic beliefs (evaluation and certainty) explain individual differences in cognitive, behavioural and emotional engagement. Also, we wanted to test the hypothesized mediational role of motivational beliefs in the relationships between epistemic beliefs and engagement. Participants in the study were 346 students of general education Academic Track high school. Students completed the questionnaire composed of the engagement scales, subjective task value scale, self-efficacy scale, self-efficacy in selfregulation scale, and epistemic beliefs questionnaire. Results of regression analyses reveal that significant part of the variance of engagement is explained by the motivational and epistemic beliefs. Behavioral, cognitive and positive emotional engagement have similar patterns of relationships with motivational and epistemic beliefs, while negative emotional engagement has a different pattern of relationships. Subjective task value and self-efficacy are significant predictors of cognitive and behavioural engagement, while epistemic beliefs of evaluation predict negative emotional engagement. The results of mediational analyses revealed that all significant correlations between epistemic beliefs and different components of engagement were either fully or partially mediated by motivational beliefs. Subjective task value of chemistry is the key mediator in relationships of the epistemic beliefs to behavioural, cognitive, and positive emotional engagement and selfefficacy in a relationship of epistemic beliefs to negative emotional engagement.