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Secondary School Biology Students’ Attitudes towards Modern Biotechnology Characterised using Structural Equation Modeling

Journal article
Authors Ola Nordqvist
Stefan Johansson
Published in Eurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education
Volume 16
Issue 2
ISSN 1305-8223
Publication year 2020
Published at Department of Education and Special Education
Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences
Language en
Keywords attitudes, bifactor model, biotechnology education, secondary schools students, structural equation modeling
Subject categories Biological Sciences, Pedagogy, Educational Sciences, Psychology


In biotechnology education research (BTER), the multifaceted construct of attitude has seldom been problematised in depth despite that the majority of studies in BTER during the last two decades have focused on students’ attitudes towards modern biotechnology. Most studies on attitudes in science education use a single-factor model in characterising students’ attitudes, while some use a three-factor model. By means of structural equation modeling the current study tested and evaluated single, three-factor, and bifactor models of student attitudes towards modern biotechnology. To further shed light on the stability of this model measurement invariance testing was carried out for groups; school-type, gender, grade, parental education and educational programme. The results showed that a three-factor model and a bifactor model showed satisfying fit to the student attitude data. The bifactor model were relatively invariant for all groups except for gender, where boys had a more positive attitude. The affective and behavioural aspects of attitudes were highly correlated why the bifactor model with its general factor and specific cognitive factor may provide a more sound explanation of students’ attitudes towards biotechnology. The results indicate the importance of including affective and behavioural dimensions of attitude in biotechnology teaching. Further implications for practice are discussed.

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