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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - International Journal of Science Education
Title Profiles of Students’ Interest in Science Issues around the World: Analysis of data from PISA 2006
Volume 33
Issue 1
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2011
Page numbers 97-120
URL http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09500693.2010.518638
The Programme for International Student Assessment in 2006 included several measures of students’ interest in science. These measures were constructed by combining information from several items where students are asked to respond to statements along Likert scale categories. Since there is evidence for Likert scales providing culturally biased country scores, we demonstrate in this article that the relative profiles of interest can be meaningfully analysed across countries. Hence, we have developed national relative profiles of interest in science constructed from the country- and item-specific residuals at the item level. Subsequently, these relative profiles of interest have been used as input in a cluster analysis providing identification of distinct groups of countries with similar item-by-item patterns of interest in science. The most notable feature of the analysis is an overall division between two larger groups of countries, roughly corresponding to European/Western countries in one group and non-European countries, with only a few exceptions, in the other group. A number of meaningful clusters of countries, partly defined by language and partly by localisation, are identified within each of the two main clusters. In order to develop a more detailed understanding of the characteristic features of the various clusters, descriptive information about the items is included in the analysis. The most notable finding is the strong relative preference for life and health issues among the non-European countries, contrasted with the distinct favouring of items relating to physical/technological systems in the European/Western countries.

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