Analysis of students' self-efficacy, interest, and effort beliefs in general chemistry†
Research in academic motivation has highlighted a number of salient constructs that are predictive of positive learning strategies and academic success. Most of this research has centered on college-level social sciences or secondary school student populations. The main purpose of this study was to adapt existing measures of personal interest and effort beliefs to a college chemistry context. In addition, a chemistry-specific measure of self-efficacy was evaluated in a modified form. This set of scales was initially administered at two time points in a first-semester general chemistry course to a sample of undergraduates (n1 = 373, n2 = 294). Confirmatory factor analyses (CFA) were conducted to determine whether the scales were functional in a chemistry context. Following revision of the scales, all CFA models demonstrated acceptable fit to the data. Cross-validation of the revised scales was performed using two different populations (n = 432, n = 728), with both studies producing similar model fits. Furthermore, our data shows that chemistry majors reported higher self-efficacy and interest than non-science majors. Cronbach's alpha estimates ranged from 0.75 to 0.92 for the revised scales across all studies. This set of scales could provide useful tools for assessing general chemistry students' motivation and the motivational impacts of various teaching practices.