Explaining secondary school students’ attitudes towards chemistry in Chile
Research into attitudes towards chemistry in Latin America and indeed towards science in general is very limited. The present study aimed to adapt and validate a shortened version of Bauer's Attitude toward the Subject of Chemistry Inventory version 2 (ASCIv2) for use in a Latin American context. It also explored attitudes towards chemistry of Chilean secondary school students, and assessed the effect of school type, year group, gender, and chemistry achievement on both cognitive and affective dimensions. The participants were 523 secondary school students from public, private subsidised, and private schools in Chile. Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) and confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) were first carried out to validate ASCIv2. The results of CFA showed that ASCIv2 retained the two-factor structure and showed optimal model fit, but three items had to be removed from the original instrument. The research also showed that attitudes towards science were neither positive nor negative, a reality similar to that of other countries. The results of multivariate and univariate analyses of variance showed significant effects of year group and chemistry achievement on attitudes towards chemistry. No effects of school type, gender or interactions between factors were found. Follow-up analyses revealed that as students advance through school their attitudes decline, but that the higher their chemistry marks, the more positive their attitudes become. These findings are partially in line with previous data from other countries and are a starting point for more research into attitudes towards chemistry in Latin America.