How do Californian elementary science students perceive their classroom learning environments?

P.J. Brok, den, D. Fisher, T. Rickards, E. Bull

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review


    This study utilised the What Is Happening In this Class (WIHIC) questionnaire to examine factors that influence Californian student perceptions of their learning environment. Data was collected from a large sample of U.S. (California) middle school science classes. Several variables were included in the study such as student and teacher gender, student ethnic background and socio-economic status (SES), and student age. Class and school variables such as class ethnic composition, class size and school socio-economic status were also collected. A Multi-level and hierarchical analysis of variance was conducted to investigate separate and joint effects of these variables. This study reports effect sizes for these variables and the amount of variance that they explain. Results from this study indicate that some scales of the WIHIC are more inclined to measure personal or idiosyncratic features of student perceptions of their learning environment whereas other scales contain more variance at the class level. Also, it was found that different variables affect different scale scores. A variable that consistently affected students' perceptions, regardless of the element of interest in the learning environment was student gender. Generally speaking girls perceived their learning environment more positively than did boys.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationNARST Annual Meeting 2004 "Excellence in science teaching for all" 1-3 April 2004, Vancouver
    EditorsJ. Staver, D. Zandvliet, J. Tillotson, C. W. Anderson, F. Crawley
    Place of PublicationVancouver
    PublisherNational Association for Research on Science Teaching
    Publication statusPublished - 2004


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