Family experiences, the motivation for science learning and science achievement of different learner groups

  • Salomé Schulze
  • Eleanor Lemmer


Science education is particularly important for both developed and developing countries to promote technological development, global economic competition and economic growth. This study explored the relationship between family experiences, the motivation for science learning, and the science achievement of a group of Grade Nine learners in South Africa. A purposeful sample of 380 learners from three racial groups in public and independent schools completed the Student Motivation for Science Learning questionnaire combined with items investigating family experiences. The findings indicate that family experiences correlated significantly with three motivational aspects of science learning (self-efficacy, active learning and achievement goals); boys perceived family experiences significantly more positively than girls; and parental educational level as well as school values seemed to be related to science learning. Recommendations were made as to how schools can support families in enhancing family experiences that promote learners’ motivation for science learning and science achievement.

Keywords: family experiences; gender; motivation; racial group; school type; science achievement; science learning