Primary school children’s attitudes and aspirations about Science: the role of science capital, cultural capital and self-efficacy

Activity: Academic Talks or PresentationsOral presentationResearch


Previous research, conducted predominantly with secondary school pupils, has reported that children with higher science capital, cultural capital and beliefs in their own science ability tend to have higher aspirations about pursuing careers in science-related fields. The aim of this study was to explore factors contributing to primary school children’s attitude towards learning Science and future aspirations.
504 (51.8% female) pupils in Years 4-6 from five different primary schools completed a survey of science capital, measuring various perceptions of, affinity towards and involvement with science.
Only a small proportion of the sample had high science capital. Children with moderate levels of science capital scored higher on their future science job affinity, science self-efficacy, value of science, engagement in science activities and science education than those with low science capital. Cultural capital (measuring parental education and out of school activities) was also different between those with low and medium science capital. There were significant year group, gender and between-school differences.
The findings indicate how children’s views about science are related to school and family factors, and extent of engagement in science-related activities. This raises implications for how children’s aspirations and self-efficacy towards science may be enhanced to promote more widespread science participation. The observed significant school and Year group differences call for further pedagogical considerations of effective science learning in schools.
Period20 Jun 2019
Event titleUniversity of Northampton Annual Research Conference
Event typeConference
LocationNorthampton, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionLocal