Science curiosity in learning environments: developing an attitudinal scale for research in schools, homes, museums, and the community

Jennifer L. Weible, Heather Toomey Zimmerman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although curiosity is considered an integral aspect of science learning, researchers have debated how to define, measure, and support its development in individuals. Prior measures of curiosity include questionnaire type scales (primarily for adults) and behavioral measures. To address the need to measure scientific curiosity, the Science Curiosity in Learning Environments (SCILE) scale was created and validated as a 12-item scale to measure scientific curiosity in youth. The scale was developed through (a) adapting the language of the Curiosity and Exploration Inventory-II [Kashdan, T. B., Gallagher, M. W., Silvia, P. J., Winterstein, B. P., Breen, W. E., Terhar, D., & Steger, M. F. (2009). The curiosity and exploration inventory-II: Development, factor structure, and psychometrics. Journal of Research in Personality, 43(6), 987–998] for youth and (b) crafting new items based on scientific practices drawn from U.S. science standards documents. We administered a preliminary set of 30 items to 663 youth ages 8–18 in the U.S.A. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis resulted in a three-factor model: stretching, embracing, and science practices. The findings indicate that the SCILE scale is a valid measure of youth’s scientific curiosity for boys and girls as well as elementary, middle school, and high school learners.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1235-1255
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Science Education
Volume38
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - May 23 2016

Keywords

  • Attitudinal scale
  • curiosity
  • emotions in learning
  • exploratory factor analysis
  • science practices
  • scientific attitudes
  • youth

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