A cross-national study of classroom environment and attitudes among junior secondary science students in Australia and in Indonesia
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One purpose of the present study was to validate a modified version of the What is Happening In This Class? (WIHIC) questionnaire and the Test of Science Related Attitude (TOSRA) in both Australia and Indonesia. It was the first classroom environment study that used the two above questionnaires simultaneously in these two countries. The second aim of this study was to find out whether the scores on the WIHIC questionnaire and TOSRA vary with country and with gender. The third and final aim of this study was to evaluate the strength of the associations between students' perceptions of their classroom environment and their attitude to science in both Australia and Indonesia. The sample consisted of 1,161 students (594 students from 18 classes in Indonesia and 567 students from 18 classes in Australia). All the students came from private coeducational schools. The original WIHIC questionnaire had eight scales made up of ten items per scale while the original version of TOSRA had seven scales made up of ten items per scale. Principal components factor analysis followed by varimax rotation resulted in the acceptance of a revised version of the WIHIC comprising 55 items and a revised version of TOSRA comprising 20 items. The a priori factor structure of the revised version of each questionnaire was replicated in both countries, with nearly all items having a factor loading of at least 0.30 on their a priori scale and no other scale.The use of MANOVA revealed that there were a few differences between Australian and Indonesian students' perceptions of their classroom environments and in their attitudes to science. For example, Australian students had a more positive attitude towards scientific inquiry while Indonesian students had a more positive attitude towards career interest in Science. A comparison between male and female students in the two countries revealed that both genders had almost similar perceptions of their learning environments and attitudes to science. However, female students had a slightly higher score when it came to career interest in science, student cohesiveness and equity. A series of simple correlation and multiple regression analyses revealed reasonably strong and positive associations between each classroom environment scale and the attitude scale. Overall Teacher Support and Involvement were the strongest independent predictors of student attitudes to science in both Indonesia and Australia.
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