Asia-Pacific Forum on Science Learning and Teaching, Volume 17, Issue 2, Article 15 (Dec., 2016) |

In the present study, it is aimed to predict coping strategies of middle school students in science classes by means of their personal goal orientations and their perception towards motivating tasks provided in the classroom. Data were analyzed using SPSS 20 program. In Table 1, titled Descriptive statiscs, mean, standard deviation, minimum, maximum, skewness, and kurtosis values were presented. The highest achievement goal that was reported by the participants was mastery-approach goal (M = 4.31, SD = .63) while the lowest was mastery-avoidance goal (M = 3.53, SD = 1.06). Students generally agreed that they use coping strategies when encountering with a difficulty in science class. The most frequently used coping strategy was positive coping (M = 4.31, SD = .83) which was followed by noncoping (M = 2.84, SD = 1.41). Additionally, students perceived science class work as motivating (M = 3.24, SD = .58).

Table I.Descriptive statistics

M

SD

Min

Max

Skewness

Kurtosis

α

Achievement goals

Mastery-approach4.43

.63

1.67

5.00

-1.29

1.94

.50

Mastery-avoidance3.53

1.06

1.00

5.00

-.50

-.53

.73

Performance-approach4.28

.81

1.33

5.00

-1.26

1.16

.70

Performance-avoidance3.85

.85

1.00

5.00

-.72

.43

.73

Academic coping strategies

Positive coping4.31

.83

1.33

5.00

-1.60

2.15

.76

Projective coping2.04

1.21

1.00

5.00

1.04

.03

.82

Denial coping2.48

1.15

1.00

5.00

.52

-.59

.73

Non-coping2.84

1.41

1.00

5.00

.19

-.88

.76

Classroom goal structure

Motivating tasks3.24

.58

1.30

4.00

-.92

.54

.81

Bivariate correlations between the variables of the study are calculated using Pearson moment correlation coefficient (r) and presented in Table 2. Accordingly, motivating task is positively correlated with positive coping (r = .41, p< .01) while negatively correlated with projective coping (r = -.25, p< .01). Besides, there are also some correlations between achievement goals and coping strategies. For instance, mastery-approach goal is positively related with positive coping (r = .37, p< .01) while negatively related with projective coping (r= -.25, p< .01) and non-coping (r = -.14, p< .05).

Table II.Bivariate correlations between achievement goals, coping strategies, and motivating tasks

Variables

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

1.Mastery-approach1

2.Mastery-avoidance.20**

1

3.Performance-approach.35**

.26**

1

4.Performance-avoidance.29**

.59**

.50**

1

5.Positive coping.37**

.06

.29**

.23**

1

6.Projective coping-.25**

.10

-.10

-.01

-.23**

1

7.Denial coping-.10

.09

-.11*

.01

-.10

.55**

1

8.Non-coping-.14*

.33**

.12*

.17**

-.01

.23**

.15**

1

9.Motivating tasks.32**

.16**

.25**

.21**

.41**

-.25**

-.10

.06

1

Note: **p< .01, *p< .05In order to examine how motivating tasks and achievement goals predict coping strategies, hierarchical multiple regression analyses were conducted. In hierarchical regression, predictor variables are entered in the model in an order (Tabachnick & Fidell, 2007). It is recommended to include predictors according to their importance for the prediction of the dependent variable (Field, 2009). Hierarchical regression enables to assess how newly added set of variables predict dependent variable after the previously entered set of variables controlled for (Tabachnick & Fidell, 2007). In this study, four separate hierarchical regression analyses were conducted with each coping strategy dependent variable (See Table 3). In the first step, motivating task was entered while in the second step, personal achievement goals were included in the model. In the model with positive coping dependent variable, motivating task (β= .43, p<.001) was a statistically significant and positive predictor which explained 18.8% of the variance in the dependent variable. In the second step, achievement goals were entered in the model. Mastery-approach (β= .26, p< .001) and performance-avoidance (β= .14, p< .05) were statistically significant and positive predictors while mastery-avoidance (β= -.14, p< .05) was a statistically significant and negative predictor of positive coping. Achievement goals explained an additional 10.7% of the variance in the dependent variable. The total amount of variance explained in positive coping was 29.6%.

In the second model, projective coping was the criterion variable. In the first step, motivating task was entered in the model as a predictor variable and it (β = -.27, p< .001) was a statistically significantly and negatively related to projective coping. Motivating task explained 7.3% of the variance in the dependent variable. In the second step, achievement goals were entered to the model which helped to explain 7.1% of an additional variance. Thus, the total amount of explained variance in projective coping was 14.4%. Mastery-approach (β = -.24, p< .001) was a statistically significant and negative predictor while mastery-avoidance (β = .19, p < .001) was a statistically significant and positive predictor of projective coping.

Denial coping was predicted in the third model. Neither motivating task nor achievement goals were statistically significant predictors of denial coping. In other words, motivating task and achievement goals were unrelated to students’ use of denial coping strategies when encountering with a difficulty in science class. The total amount of explained variance in denial coping was 4.2%.

In the last model, non-coping was the criterion variable. Motivating task, which was entered in the model in the first step, was unrelated to the criterion variable. In the second step, achievement goals were entered to the model. Among achievement goals, mastery-approach (β = -.29, p< .001) was a statistically significant and negative predictor while mastery-avoidance (β = .31, p< .001) was a statistically significant and positive predictor of non-coping. The amount of total variance explained in non-coping was 17.1%.

In summary, hierarchical multiple regression analyses results demonstrated that science class learning environment which was perceived to include motivating tasks was positively related to students’ use of positive coping strategies while negatively related to students’ use of projective coping strategies. Furthermore, mastery-approach goal oriented students were more likely to use positive coping strategies and less likely to use projective coping and non-coping strategies when encountering with a difficulty in science class. On the contrary to mastery-approach goal oriented students, students who endorse mastery-avoidance goals were less likely to use positive coping strategies while more likely to use projective coping and non-coping strategies. Additionally, performance-avoidance goal oriented students tended to use more positive coping strategies.

Table III.Hierarchical regression analyses predicting academic coping strategies

Positive coping

Projective coping

Denial coping

Non-coping

B

SE B

β

B

SE B

β

B

SE B

β

B

SE B

β

Step 1

Constant

2.32

0.24

3.86

0.37

3.17

0.37

2.52

0.36

Motivating tasks

0.61

0.07

0.43***

-0.56

0.11

-0.27***

-0.21

0.11

-0.10

0.10

0.11

0.05

Step 2

Constant

0.84

0.33

4.95

0.53

3.73

0.54

2.85

0.49

Motivating tasks

0.44

0.07

0.31***

-0.44

0.12

-0.21***

-0.15

0.12

-0.07

0.13

0.11

0.07

Mastery-approach

0.34

0.07

0.26***

-0.46

0.12

-0.24***

-0.15

0.12

-0.08

-0.52

0.11

-0.29***

Mastery-avoidance

-0.11

0.05

-0.14*

0.21

0.07

0.19**

0.14

0.08

0.13

0.39

0.07

0.37***

Performance-approach

0.10

0.06

0.09

-0.03

0.10

-0.02

-0.18

0.10

-0.13

0.16

0.09

0.11

Performance-avoidance

0.14

0.07

0.14*

-0.01

0.11

-0.01

0.05

0.11

0.03

-0.06

0.10

-0.04

Notes:

- In the first model with positive coping dependent variable, R² = .19 for Step 1; ΔR²= .11 for Step 2 (p < .001).
- In the second model with projective coping dependent variable, R² = .07 for Step 1; ΔR² = .07 for Step 2 (p < .001).
- In the third model with denial coping dependent variable, R² = .01 for Step 1; ΔR² = .03 for Step 2 (p < .05).
- In the fourth model with non-coping dependent variable, R² = .00 for Step 1; ΔR² = .17 for Step 2 (p < .001).
- *p< .05, **p< .01, ***p< .001.

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