GSA Connects 2021 in Portland, Oregon

Paper No. 154-9
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-1:00 PM


KLYCE, Annie, 701 Sumter Street, EWS 617, Columbia, SC 29208 and RYKER, Katherine, School of the Earth, Ocean & Environment, University of South Carolina, 701 Sumter Street, EWS 617, Columbia, SC 29208-0001

Looking through the lens of Expectancy Value Theory (EVT) in Geoscience Education Research allows us to gain a broader understanding of how to engage students in their courses and science as a whole. Efficacy and value play key roles in the student experience, and are relevant to understanding the impacts of research and teaching interventions regardless of whether the end goal is for students to feel interested in the material, join and persist in STEM fields, or to succeed academically. EVT states that for one to succeed at a task, they must believe they are capable of doing so (self-efficacy) and find the task to be valuable (value). Self-efficacy is one’s belief in their ability to achieve the goals they set for themselves, and has been concluded to be a part of higher goal setting, increased effort, and resilience to challenges (Bandura, 1994). Value can be broken down into intrinsic (interest), attainment (relevance to identity), utility (usefulness) and cost (sacrifice) (Parsons et al., 1984), and is related to students’ self schema, perceptions of their own abilities and perceptions of how difficult tasks are (Eccles & Wigfield, 2002).

In this presentation, we will provide an overview of EVT and demonstrate its application through an embedded multiple-case study. Students in large, introductory geology courses were divided into control and experimental groups to determine if training spatial skills increases students’ efficacy and value. Students in the experimental group were assigned 10 spatial training modules; students in the control group were assigned short exercises related to course content, but that did not explicitly offer training of spatial skills. Pre- and post-surveys were used to determine changes in students’ efficacy and value related to the course and science as a whole. Preliminary results show students in the experimental group had significantly higher (p < 0.01) final course grades than those in the control group, with a Cohen’s d of 0.41 (medium effect). By incorporating EVT into our research, we can explore how different interventions influence students’ experience, perceptions of their own abilities, and the value students see in the task or subject matter.