Can ‘Attitudes toward Biology Course’ and ‘Learning Strategies’ Simultaneously Predict Achievement in Biology?

Yılmaz Çakıcı* Osman Tolga Arıcak** Gökhan Ilgaz***

  • Ass. Prof. Dr., Trakya University, Faculty of Education, Edirne Turkey.
    ** Assoc. Prof. Dr., Fatih University, Department of Psychology, Istanbul Turkey.
    *** Lecturer MA, Trakya University, Faculty of Education, Edirne Turkey.


Problem Statement: There is much research concerning the relationship between attitude and science achievement or between learning strategies and science achievement but less is known about the simultaneous relationships among attitude, learning strategies and achievement in relation to biology and science. It is difficult to source any research on whether and how attitude and learning strategies predict student success in biology or even general science.

Purpose of Study: The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between attitude toward biology course, learning strategies used to study biology and achievement in biology using structural equation modelling (SEM).

Methods: The participants consisted of a total of 890 students (429 ninth and 461 tenth grade) from seven different high schools in the city of Edirne located in the North Eastern part of Turkey. 507 students were males and 383 were females, ranging from 14 to 18 (M = 15.79, SD = .82). Data were collected through the use of two instruments. One measure assessed students’ attitudes toward the biology course. The other measure assessed learning strategies used by students in learning biology. Data for achievement in Biology course was obtained from their grade point average (GPA) in Biology at the end of 2006-2007 academic year. The path analysis in terms of structural equation modeling (SEM) was performed to examine the relationship and interaction between attitudes toward the biology course, learning strategies in biology and achievement in biology. Findings and Results: The path model revealed that students’ attitude toward biology and the use of learning strategies on the biology course significantly predicted students’ achievement in biology (β = .17, p < .001 and β = .17, p < .001, respectively). In addition, there is a significant correlation between students’ attitude toward biology and use of learning strategies in biology course (r = .60, p<.05). Thirty-six percent of the use of learning strategies in biology course can be explained by attitude toward the biology course.

Conclusions and Recommendations: This research found that both student attitude toward biology and learning strategies were significant predictors of achievement in biology and underlines their importance in enhancing the effectiveness of science education and as predictors of student future success. In this context, the attitudes and learning strategies of high school students seem to be equally related to their performance in biology. Future studies should explore these relationships in different cultural contexts and extend the scope to other disciplines such as physics and chemistry.

Keywords: Attitudes, Learning Strategies, Biology Achievement, Biology Learning