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Indonesian and Korean high school student’s disparities in science learning orientations: an approach to multi-group structural equation modeling

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Abstract The primary purpose of the current study is to identify the differences between Indonesian and Korean high school students with regard to science learning orientations based on the inter-correlation between conceptions of, approach to and self-efficacy in learning science. A total of 1241 Indonesian and Korean high school students (609 Indonesian and 632 Korean) participated in this study. There were three translated research instruments used in the study, namely; the conceptions of learning science (COLS), the approach to learning science (ALS) and the science self-efficacy, which were all used to identify students' learning orientations in both countries. A Rasch model analysis was performed to seek validation of the instruments, and to obtain students' scores in the interval data form. The Pearson correlation test and a multi-group structural equation modeling were run to respond to the primary purpose of the current study. Based on the results, the current study generated an acceptable model of inter-correlation between COLS, ALS and science self-efficacy. Further analysis using a multi-group analysis generated an acceptable model indicated. The model was significantly different, as mediated by country and notated significant differences in the several identified paths. Cultural impacts on the learning orientations are discussed in order to understand the differences noted in this case.
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O R I G I N A L R E S E A R C H A R T I C L E Open Access
Indonesian and Korean high school
students disparities in science learning
orientations: an approach to multi-group
structural equation modeling
Arif Rachmatullah
1
and Minsu Ha
2*
* Correspondence: msha@kangwon.
ac.kr
2
Division of Science Education,
Kangwon National University,
Chuncheon-si, Gangwon-do,
Republic of Korea
Full list of author information is
available at the end of the article
Abstract
The primary purpose of the current study is to identify the differences between
Indonesian and Korean high school students with regard to science learning
orientations based on the inter-correlation between conceptions of, approach to and
self-efficacy in learning science. A total of 1241 Indonesian and Korean high school
students (609 Indonesian and 632 Korean) participated in this study. There were
three translated research instruments used in the study, namely; the conceptions of
learning science (COLS), the approach to learning science (ALS) and the science self-
efficacy, which were all used to identify students' learning orientations in both
countries. A Rasch model analysis was performed to seek validation of the
instruments, and to obtain students' scores in the interval data form. The Pearson
correlation test and a multi-group structural equation modeling were run to respond
to the primary purpose of the current study. Based on the results, the current study
generated an acceptable model of inter-correlation between COLS, ALS and science
self-efficacy. Further analysis using a multi-group analysis generated an acceptable
model indicated. The model was significantly different, as mediated by country and
notated significant differences in the several identified paths. Cultural impacts on the
learning orientations are discussed in order to understand the differences noted in
this case.
Keywords: Cross-cultural study, Learning orientations, Multi-group analysis, Science
learning, Secondary students
Introduction
Science education researchers have been scrutinizing many studentsaffective aspects
when learning science, in order to fully understand studentspsychological background
that might help them to learn science in a more meaningful way. Those affective
aspects include science motivation, metacognitive skills, science epistemological beliefs,
engagement in the science classroom, conceptions of learning, learning strategies, and
even their confidence in learning science. Among those variables, several recent studies
in science education have focused on scrutinizing the way students are conceiving of
their science learning. Given these points, it was found that there are several influences
present as the base for the students to use as they decide to choose their learning
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indicate if changes were made.
Asia-Pacific Science Educatio
n
Rachmatullah and Ha Asia-Pacific Science Education (2019) 5:19
https://doi.org/10.1186/s41029-019-0048-5
strategies (e.g. Lee et al. 2008; Tsai 2004). Tavakol and Dennick (2010) and Zheng et al.
(2018) found that kinds of learning strategies taken by students are significantly correlated
to their self-efficacy, which is known as the one of the significant aspects in predicting the
students learning. Additionally, Shen et al. (2016) study suggested that taken together and
reviewing these three students affective aspects; conceptions of (COLS), approaches to
(ALS) and self-efficacy in learning science, these factors can be used in determining
students learning styles or orientations in the learning of science subjects.
Entwistle and Ramsden (1983) have proposed the categorizations of a students learn-
ing orientations that are based on the complexity of the correlation between the three
variables mentioned above. They proposed four categories of a students learning orien-
tation namely meaning, reproducing, achieving, and apathetic orientations. In relation
to the categorizations, students socio-cultural backgrounds are found as the variance
impacting the types of learning orientation that students had (Entwistle and Ramsden
1983), and the country effect as well as the influences of culture featured with the
country, were found as the most influential factor in determining students learning
orientations (Marambe et al. 2012; Neuman and Bekerman 2001). To date, there is a
limited finding in the body of the relevant science education research known to be
focusing on the students learning orientations based on COLS, ALS and self-efficacy in
the learning of science. This may contribute to explain the differences of the students
learning outcomes (Rachmatullah et al. 2017; Chin and Brown 2000; Zeldin et al. 2008)
that for more than a decade are routinely assessed by international programs such as
the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and the Trends in Inter-
national Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). Therefore, the current study at-
tempts to seek the effect of country in mediating the correlations between the three
variables, through generating a model based on structural equation modeling (SEM)
technique, to the samples from two representative countries based on achievement in
PISA and TIMSS, Indonesia and Korea. Indonesia and Korea were chosen as the
samples for this study because of the consideration from PISA and TIMSS results
(Mullis et al. 2016; OECD 2016). Based on their results, Indonesia has been considered
as a low achiever country in scientific literacy and always ranked in the bottom tenth
for this aspect. In contrast, Korea is one of the higher achieving countries where stu-
dents always rank in top ten. Not only did PISA and TIMSS assess scientific literacy,
they also analyzed studentsscience learning confidence and motivation from which
they obtained very interesting findings. Indonesian students had a very high confidence
and motivation to learn science, while Korean students were found to have low confi-
dence and motivation to learn science. These intriguing results were the main reasons
we conducted this study. We wanted to gain more insights into how these two learning
domains (cognitive and affective domains) which were hyposthesized to be positively
correlated one another but such correlation was not evident. Additionally, based on our
previous study on reviewing the cultural, economics and education system in both
countries, we found that Indonesia and Korea have a very distinct characteristics which
we believe may influence on such phenomenon as well as the learning orientations
students have in both countries (Rachmatullah et al. 2019 for more detail).
The current study attempts to find the differences in both countries students learn-
ing orientations based on the paths from the generated model through performing
multi-group analysis. By way of the Shin et al. (2018) and Velayutham et al. (2012)
Rachmatullah and Ha Asia-Pacific Science Education (2019) 5:19 Page 2 of 17
studies, it is recommended by a multi-group analysis as the methods to gain depth in-
sights in the differences of two comparable groups based on the generated model.
However, we are also aware of the findings that may not entirely be used in explaining
the country effect on students learning orientation in low and high achiever countries
in scientific literacy, and we believe that this could be considered as a reasonable start-
ing point to finding out the differences of achievement in such international assessment
programs.
Prior to the findings and discussions about the differences in learning orientations of
the students from two countries, the following section describes the previous studies
on the relationship between the COLS, ALS, and self-efficacy in learning science. These
reviews were also used as the base in establishing a hypothetical model. Moreover, brief
reviews regarding cultural differences in the students learning orientation from previ-
ous studies are also described.
Literature review
Conceptions of (COLS), approaches to (ALS) and self-efficacy in science learning
Tsai (2004) defines the conceptions of learning science as the way students note conceiving
their previous experience for science learning in the form of beliefs and knowledge about
the subject. Several studies have indicated that the way students conceive learning is that a
hierarchically is clearly distinguishable in this process, which is leading to different strategies
that the students take in the process of learning science (Lee et al. 2008;Martonetal.1993;
Säljö 1979;Tsai2004). Tsai (2004) argued based on his phenomenological study on
Taiwanese students that the students conceptions of learning science in a broader
scope may have consisted of two different types of conceptions; namely the repro-
ductive and the constructivist conception. Generally speaking, the students with repro-
ductive conceptions means that they think that learning science is essential as only an
acquiring of knowledge to be used for obtaining a better score in a test. In contrast, stu-
dents with constructivist conceptions perceive learning science as understanding more
science concepts in order to obtain more valuable meaning of life. This theory by Tsai
(2004) and later revised by the Lee et al. (2008) study, found that three specific concep-
tions of learning science are categorized as the part of the reproductive conceptions.
Those three conceptions are learning science as (1) memorizing science facts, concepts,
formulas and laws, (2) learning science as relevant for success in cognitive-related science
tests, and (3) learning science as related to practicing and manipulating numbers and for-
mulas to solve problems. In addition, the constructivist conception also is consisting of
three conceptions, namely learning science as increasing ones own knowledge, learning
science as applying a particular science-related knowledge to unknown problems, and
learning science as understanding scientific phenomena in a more profound way in order
to obtain a new perspective about natural phenomena.
Many studies have obtained pieces of evidence both in qualitative and quantitative stud-
ies, noting that students with reproductive conceptions of learning science tend to use
lower level of learning strategy and motive, called the surface approach, while students
with constructivist conceptions are prone to use higher hierarchy of learning strategy and
motive such as called a deep approach (Lee et al. 2008;Shenetal.2016; Tsai 2004;Zheng
et al. 2018). However, Koballa Jr et al. (2000) and Tavakol and Dennick (2010) later
Rachmatullah and Ha Asia-Pacific Science Education (2019) 5:19 Page 3 of 17
supported with findings from Shen et al. (2016) and Zheng et al. (2018) found that
students who have lower conceptions of learning also could use higher level of learning
approaches, and vice versa for the higher conceptions. In a further sense, Koballa Jr et al.
(2000) and Tavakol and Dennick (2010) indicated this phenomenon that students use
mixed-approaches to process their learning, especially in the area of learning science-
related subjects.
Regarding self-efficacy, Bandura (1977) based on his social cognitive theory, explained
self-efficacy as the studentsbeliefs in on their abilities to successfully process their
learning task and achieve desirable learning outcomes. Several studies have found that
self-efficacy is highly correlated to and explained by the variance of the students
achievements, especially in science (Bandura 1977; Robnett et al. 2015; Zheng et al.
2018). Thus, the students self-efficacy is considered as an essential part of the students
learning process. However, Bandura (1977), Chin and Brown (2000) and Zeldin et al.
(2008) stated that the students self-efficacy is exerted from their previous learning
experiences that stimulate students learning management and regulation skills. In
another sense, the different type of conceptions and approaches that the students have
corresponds to the level of their self-efficacy. Higher conceptions of and approaches to
learning science correspond to the higher self-efficacy that students had, and vice versa
for the lower hierarchies (e.g. Rachmatullah et al. 2018a; Zheng et al. 2018). Many stud-
ies have found that approaches to learning mediate the correlation between concep-
tions and self-efficacy. However, the Shen et al. (2016) and Tsai et al. (2011) studies
focused on using the SEM technique to examine the Taiwanese and Chinese students
and their learning approaches, and found that the conceptions of learning as applying
which is part of constructivist conception had a direct effect to the students self-
efficacy. This prompted the current study to also examine this direct effect of con-
structivist conception to science self-efficacy, to the model generated from Indonesian
and Korean students. Given that Rachmatullah et al. (2018a), Marambe et al. (2012)
and Neuman and Bekerman (2001) stated that the magnitude of correlations between
COLS, ALS and self-efficacy in learning science is influenced by country, it is an idea
worth examining at this time.
Learning orientations and country effects on it
Many studies on this topic have defined the meaning of learning orientation, but most of
the explanations suggested in the literature are quite different in some ways and similar in
other ways. Some studies also use the term of orientation of studying (e.g. Entwistle and
McCune 2004) or even learning style (Biggs 1979;Richardson2011) interchangeably with
learning orientation. Broadly speaking, learning orientation as addressed in this paper
corresponds to what theories were suggested by Entwistle and Ramsden (1983)asthestu-
dents collective affective aspects, mainly including their motives, intentions, and processes
of studying and learning. Entwistle and Ramsden (1983) suggested four different types of
orientation that students have; namely reproducing, meaning, achieving and nonacademic
orientation. Likewise, the reproducing orientation refers to the indication of the use of a
surface approach to process learning and strongly relies on the syllabus. The orientation is
also mainly associated and driven by the fear of failure, anxiety and extrinsic motivation. In
contrast, the meaning orientation indicated the use of a deep approach to process learning,
Rachmatullah and Ha Asia-Pacific Science Education (2019) 5:19 Page 4 of 17
as the result of high intention to gain more understanding through learning. Students who
are meaning oriented are mostly eager to be engaged in comprehension learning, system-
atic thinking, and explain with the use of evidence. All of these traits are internally moti-
vated in the student. The third orientation is the student achieving orientation. Students
who are achieving oriented tend to be aware of syllabus, but they process learning through
every possible effort, including the use of mixed approaches surface and deep, leading to
what so-called as disorganized studying. Students with this orientation only pursue achieve-
ment in their studies. Lastly, the nonacademic orientation indicated a negative attitude
towards learning, such as indicated by a low level of self-efficacy; also students with this
orientation tend to have what Pask (1976) called as learning pathologies, characterized with
improvidence and globetrotting.
An abundant amount of works of literature in students learning orientation has sug-
gested that the students learning orientation is depended on the culture that influences
the students (Manikutty et al. 2007; Marambe et al. 2012; Neuman and Bekerman
2001). Students from one culture may have a different learning orientation in compari-
son to other students from other cultures. As culture is known to be heavily weighing
in the life system of a particular society, culture does not only cover the traditional
caring method of parents, socioeconomic status of country, as well as educational
system and curriculum, are also considered as the derivatives of culture, at least indir-
ectly. With the complexity of culture, it may be considered obvious that the students
from one country to other countries have different type of learning orientations. Many
studies on the students learning orientation have been carried in the subject of
language and mathematics (e.g. Jones et al. 2003; Manikutty et al. 2007; Oxford and
Anderson 1995; Park 1997; Philbin et al. 1995), while it is limited to find a relevant
study in the science subject. However, many intriguing findings obtained from those
studies have shown differences in the students learning orientation based on the stu-
dents culture. Findings from Asians with Confucian culture have indicated that these
cultures are prone to be reproducing oriented (e.g. Marton et al. 1997; Park 1997;
Wong 2004), leading to stereotyping them as the Asian as a rote learner,but at the
same time people are stereotyping the people from these cultures typically as the
Brainy Asian,indicating that these students tend to have meaningful learning orienta-
tion (Marton et al. 1997). In line with the Indonesian samples, there have also been
examples of this idea used in several studies on learning orientations. Ajisuksmo and
Vermunt (1999) study found that Indonesian university students used stepwise process-
ing strategies, which are prone to memorizing and rehearsing, analyzing, and concrete
processing. In the Marambe et al. (2012) comparison study and the Charlesworth
(2008) study, the Indonesian students used memorizing as well as rehearsing strategies
more often (reflector style), and had less use of relating, structuring, thereby noting that
they had lowest on active learning style.
Aforementioned that the previous studies have mainly obtained results from the sub-
ject of language and mathematics, and most of the participants of these studies were
university students. The current study attempts to find out more the effect of culture
on the high school students learning orientation in a science subject, by comparing
Indonesian and Korean high school students. Prior to the analysis, this paper also pro-
vides a brief description of Indonesian and Korean differences in cultural and economic
aspects, which contribute to establishing the hypothesis.
Rachmatullah and Ha Asia-Pacific Science Education (2019) 5:19 Page 5 of 17
Indonesian and Korean culture and economic status related to education
Indonesia is known as a developing country, which is now trying to improve the country
economic status with maximizing the products from science, technology, engineering and
mathematics (STEM) sectors (World Bank 2017). Based on the OECD (2017), Indonesia
uses 1.2% GDP for education, which is considered less far from the OECD countrysaver-
age 2.1%. As the countrys expenditure for education is used for providing a better school
environment leading to better educational performances, this expenditure has not been
enough to make the Indonesia science education program into a superior level, as shown
by the Indonesian students performance in international assessments, such as the PISA
and the TIMSS. Based on those assessments, Indonesians students for more than a decade
are always in the bottom rank (OECD 2016; Mullis et al. 2016).
Regarding the Indonesian culture, it is hypothesized that the performance of the
teachers may directly impact the studentslearning orientation. In Indonesia, the
teacher is called a guru,which is derived from Javanese words digugu Ian ditiru,
which means a person that must be listened to and who should be obeyed (Ajisuksmo
and Vermunt 1999). The role of the teacher in Indonesia culture has the power and
dominant instructional practice in the classroom environment, while the students are
viewed as a person who needs to listen to whatever the teacher is telling them during
the classroom instruction timeframes. Therefore, in the teaching and learning activities,
students need to memorize information that is delivered by the teacher. Moreover, Aji-
suksmo and Vermunt (1999) add incidentally, that the teachers salary is too low, which
might force some of them to find side jobs to make up a fuller income, and for this rea-
son, the teachers do not have enough time to develop their knowledge and teaching
skill. Consequently, they may use the traditional approach of process of transferring in-
formation to teach their students. Lewis (1997) also argues of the cultures impact which
is found on the influence of the home (family) education, where students usually learn
to memorize prayers, dogmas, songs, or principles of the state to accept their identity
as Indonesian, as a person who religious (as Muslim or Christians), or to show off or
perform for their parents.
In contrast, economically, Korea is categorized as a developed-industrial country with
mature and abundant products from the identified STEM sectors (Watkins and Ehst
2008). Korea is also known as one of the countries that has a high expenditure on edu-
cation, which is noted to be around 2.3% of the GDP (OECD 2017). Globally speaking,
this above-average expenditure for education has made Korea one of the high achiev-
ing countries and has produced successful science education practitioners globally
speaking. Whereas the science achievements of the successful Korea's successful stu-
dents that may prompt some world citizens to refer to Koreans (along together with
Chinese and Japanese) as "Brainy Asians," more often, world citizens seem more apt to
refer to Asians as "rote learners." Korea together with mainland China, Taiwan, and
Japan have all shared a common Confucian culture. In the Confucian culture, a chils
failure in school is considered as the familys failure as well; thus the family tends to
give more pressure to students to succeed (Stankov 2010). This can leadstudents to generally
have more anxiety and self-doubt. The self-doubt, pressure and anxiety placed on students
from their families, may prompt the students to only focus on increasing their attainment of
high grades in school, and may encourage them to keep studying through the use of me-
morizing techniques (e.g. Li and Cutting 2011;SuenandYu2006; Watkins and Biggs 1996).
Rachmatullah and Ha Asia-Pacific Science Education (2019) 5:19 Page 6 of 17
However, many have different opinions regarding the impact of Confucian culture on
studying. For instance, Ji (2010) argues that the reason why many students from the
Confucian culture tend to have more anxiety, self-doubt and use memorizing is because
many schools in Confucian countries emphasize the importance of the school and or
national ranking system, which is so transparent, that it is open and usually shows the
students grading marks in public. Thus, it may lead to an increase in the students
anxiety about receiving failing grades in schools. Based on this, in some sense there
may be similarities or even differences between the Indonesian and Korean students
learning orientations, but to date there is no study statistically examining these similar-
ities and differences based on the inter-correlation between the three major psycho-
logical aspects of students' science learning; COLS, ALS and the influences and impacts
of the student self-efficacy in learning science.
Hypotheses and research questions
Based on the description above, a hypothetical model of the inter-correlation
between the COLS, ALS, and self-efficacy in learning science was established to be
examined using the Indonesian and Korean samples. The hypothetical model
featured with every path hypothesis is visualized in Fig. 1. The hypotheses are as
follows:
H1. There is a significant direct positive effect of constructivist conceptions on the
deep approach.
H2. There is a significant direct negative effect of constructivist conceptions on the
surface approach.
H3. There is a significant direct negative effect of reproductive conceptions on the
deep approach.
H4. There is a significant direct positive effect of reproductive conceptions on the
surface approach.
H5. There is a significant positive direct effect of constructivist conceptions on the
self-efficacy.
H6. Deep approach has a positive significant direct effect on the self-efficacy.
H7. Surface approach has a negative significant direct effect on the self-efficacy.
Fig. 1 The hypothetical model
Rachmatullah and Ha Asia-Pacific Science Education (2019) 5:19 Page 7 of 17
Following the examination of the hypothetical model, we proposed two research
questions in order to create more a focus discussion of the current study. Those two
research questions are as follows:
1. Is the hypothetical model based on previous studies acceptable for the samples of
the Indonesian and Korean high school students?
2. To what extent does the country mediate the correlations between the COLS, ALS,
and the self-efficacy in learning science tested in the generated model?
Methods
Participants
The data of the current study were gathered from eight Indonesian general and
Islamic-based high schools and six Korean general high schools. A total of 1241 high
school students, which was noted to consist of 609 Indonesian and 632 Korean
students, participated in the current study. Most of them were in their first and second
grade, and some were in the third grade of high school level. In terms of gender, the
Indonesian data were composed of 37% males and 63% females, while the Korean data
were quite equally distributed by gender with 51% males and 49% females.
Research instruments
Three instruments were used in the current study. The two instruments, which are
instruments measuring conceptions of learning science (COLS) and approaches to
learning science (ALS) were developed by the Lee et al. (2008) study, while the instru-
ment measuring science self-efficacy was developed by the Glynn et al. (2011) study.
All of the used instruments were carefully translated by English-Indonesian and
English-Korean experts and were also checked by three experts in science education for
readability issue. The validity and reliability of the instruments were examined through
performing Rasch model analyses and a traditional Cronbachs alpha. The cut-off of
infit and outfit mean-square (MNSQ) was based on the Boone et al. (2014) study,
which is ranged from 0.50 ~ 1.50, and was used to validate the instrument.
The COLS instrument had initially consisted of 31 items with six constructs, and
three constructs (increasing ones knowledge five items, applying four items and under-
standing and seeing in a new way six items), with a total of 15 items measuring the
constructivist conceptions (CT) and three constructs (memorizing five items, testing
six items and calculating and practicing five items), with a total 16 items measuring
reproductive conceptions (RP). However, the current study did not use all of the items
in the final analysis, because we found three items (testing_2 and testing_3) of repro-
ductive conception construct were considered a highly factored misfit with the MNSQ
value by more than 1.80. Thus, only total 13 items were included in the final analysis
for measuring the reproductive conception. Among those total 14 items, one item was
found outside the cut-off range, but the value was not that far from the range (1.60 and
1.63 for infit and outfit respectively). We retained this item because if we remove this
item from analysis the number of items residing the Testing subscale would be very
small compared to the other subscales in the reproductive conception. Although, it
may impact the students estimated logit score, but we believe the impact would not be
Rachmatullah and Ha Asia-Pacific Science Education (2019) 5:19 Page 8 of 17
significant. However, we also acknowledge this as one limitation of this study. The psy-
chometrical properties of the used COLS instrument are presented in Table 1. In terms
of the Indonesian COLS data used in the current study, were to include the data as
used in our previous study (Rachmatullah et al. 2017).
The ALS instrument used in the current study has a similar total item with the ori-
ginal version, which is 24 items. Those items are divided into four constructs; surface
motive (five items), deep motive (eight items), surface strategy (five items), and deep
strategy (six items). Generally speaking, the surface motive and strategy were used to
measure the surface approach (SA), and the deep motive and strategy were used in
measuring the deep approach (DA). The psychometrical properties of the used ALS
instrument are presented in Table 1.
The Self-efficacy instrument used in the current study was one part of the constructs
of the Science Motivation Questionnaire II (SMQ-II), as developed by the Glynn et al.
(2011) study. It has five items, and all of the items were used in the current research.
The psychometrical properties of the used ALS instrument are presented in Table 1.
Data analyses
The obtained data gathered from the participants were in the categorical form data; thus,
the conversion to the interval form data was taken through performing a Rasch analysis
with rating scale model. This conversion was done in order to make the data meet the
requirements for further statistical analysis, particularly a parametric one. After conversion,
the studentsscore may be interpreted based on the negative and positive signs the scores
have. Based on Boone et al. (2014), students who have logit scores lower than zero, or nega-
tive scores, they have negative agreement towards the construct. This interpretation is vice
versaforthepositivescores.Oncethedatahadbeen converted, a Pearson correlation test
was run to find out whether the used variables were significantly correlated or not. Follow-
ing this analysis, a hypothetical model was examined through the SEM technique. The cut-
off of fit indices suggested by Hu and Bentler (1999), Yu (2002) and Schumacker and Lomax
(2004) was used to evaluate the model. They suggested that the good model has a standard-
ized root mean square residual (SRMR) below .08, with a normed fit index (NFI) and an
adjusted goodness of fit index (AGFI) of more than .90, a comparative fit index (CFI) and a
Tucker-Lewis index (TLI) above .95 and a root-mean-square error of approximation
(RMSEA) less than .08. Then, a multi-group analysis featured with a chi-square test (CMIN)
was performed to evaluate the country effect on the obtained acceptable model. The model
is significantly different when the p-value computed from chi-square is less than .05. Lastly,
z-square tests were performed to find out the differences between the two countries in every
Table 1 The psychometrical properties of the used instruments
Variable Number
of items
αRange of α
if item deleted
Item measure Infit MNSQ Outfit MNSQ Person
reliability
Item reliability
CT 15 .934 .928 ~ .932 0.72 ~ 0.59 0.80 ~ 1.45 0.79 ~ 1.50 .90 .98
RP 14 .875 .862 ~ .877 0.51 ~ 0.79 0.77 ~ 1.60
a
0.79 ~ 1.63
a
.85 .99
DA 14 .944 .939 ~ .942 1.00 ~ 0.77 0.74 ~ 1.24 0.75 ~ 1.32 .92 .99
SA 10 .757 .716 ~ .756 0.83 ~ 1.04 0.81 ~ 1.25 0.83 ~ 1.24 .75 1.00
SE 5 .919 .895 ~ .911 0.56 ~ 0.54 0.83 ~ 1.28 0.79 ~ 1.27 .88 .98
Notes:
a
one item was misfit (testing_1)
Rachmatullah and Ha Asia-Pacific Science Education (2019) 5:19 Page 9 of 17
path in the model. It needs to be emphasized that the present study used means-based path
analytic approach, not an entirely latent approach. Thus, what appearsintheresultswillbe
the higher hierarchies of COLS and ALS, such as constructivist and reproductive concep-
tions and deep and surface approach. The lower level of the variables, such as memorizing,
testing, etc. are not included in the analyses to form latent variables given the limited num-
ber of sample size. Therefore, the authors acknowledge this issue as one of limitations of
the present study. All of the statistical analyses were performed through SPSS and AMOS
version 22; however a Rasch analysis was completed through the use of a Winsteps 4.0.0.
Findings
Descriptive statistics and correlations between COLS, ALS and science self-efficacy
The means, standard deviations, and results of a Pearson correlation test are depicted
in Table 2. It can be seen from Table 2, that the Indonesian students had a higher
means than the Korean students in all variables, and this may be caused by a different
effect of culture in the filling out of the questionnaires by the respondents. Moreover, it
is quite difficult to interpret further the differences based on averages only. Therefore,
a multi-group SEM was taken into account to further analyze the structure of the three
variables. Prior to the analysis, the Pearson correlation test was performed as the pre-
liminary analysis.
As seen in Table 2, all variables were found significantly correlated to one another
(p< .01). The two highest correlations were found between the deep approach and self-
efficacy (r= .70) and the constructivist conceptions and deep approach (r= .55). The
two lowest correlations were the correlation between the reproductive conceptions and
self-efficacy (r= .16) and the constructivist conceptions and surface approach (r= .17).
Multi-group structural equation modeling for COLS, ALS, and self-efficacy
The tested hypothetical model featured with the standardized regression coefficients
(β) is visualized in Fig. 2. Based on the obtained fit of this model presented in Table 3,
the model met the minimum cut-off of all indices suggested by the Hu and Bentler
(1999), Yu (2002) and Schumacker and Lomax (2004) studies. Thus, the model can be
indicated as a good and acceptable model. However, three out of seven hypotheses were
rejected (p> .05) based on this model using full sample of the Indonesian and Korean
high school students. Those rejected hypotheses were the path from constructivist con-
ceptions to surface approach (H2), the reproductive conceptions to deep approach (H3)
and from the surface approach to self-efficacy (H7).
Table 2 Descriptive statistics and Pearson correlation tests results for the used variables
Variable Mean ± SD (logit) CT RP DA SA
Indonesia Korea
Constructivist CT 2.42 ±1.58 1.73 ±2.25 1
Reproductive RP 1.04 ±0.94 0.40 ±1.30 .316** 1
Deep Approach DA 1.20 ±1.43 0.02 ±2.20 .550** .196** 1
Surface Approach SA 0.51 ±0.66 0.17 ±1.10 .167** .408** .291** 1
Self-efficacy SE 3.04 ±2.61 0.54 ±3.65 .449** .162** .703** .173**
** p-value < .01; no mark p> .05
Rachmatullah and Ha Asia-Pacific Science Education (2019) 5:19 Page 10 of 17
Further analysis in finding out the effect of the country on the obtained accepted
model was completed through the performing of a multi-group analysis. Based on the
multi-group analysis indices presented in Table 3, the model was found to be well-
fitted for the unconstrained model compared to weight constrained, and the model was
found significantly different in both countries. Thus, further analysis using z-score test
to compare every βvalue of the paths in both countries was completed, and the results
are presented in Table 4and visualized in Fig. 3.
Based on Table 4, it can be seen that four paths were found to be significantly differ-
ent in both countrys models. First, it is noted that the Korean students (β= .40) had
significantly higher βvalues than the Indonesian students (β= .27) in the path from the
reproductive conceptions to surface approach, also as noted in the path from the deep
approach to self-efficacy (β= .73 and β= .35, respectively). However, the Indonesian
students (β= .11) had significantly higher βvalues than the Korean students (β=.10),
in the path from the reproductive conceptions to deep approach and from the con-
structivist conceptions to self-efficacy (β= .22 and β= .08, respectively). Interestingly,
different findings were found based on the multi-group analysis, as compared to the
model with the full sample as visualized in Fig. 2. In the full sample, it was found that
the reproductive conceptions had no significant effect on the deep approach (β= .03,
p> .05), however in the multi-group analysis result the effect did exist in both samples
but in the different direction, such as noted as negative for the Korean sample
(β=.10, p< .05), and identified as positive for the Indonesian sample (β=.11,
p< .05). Additionally, in the full sample model and only the Korean sample model
were found no significant effect of the surface approach to self-efficacy (β=.04,
p> .05), but in the Indonesian sample model, the effect did significantly exist with a noted
negative direction (β=.10, p<.05).
Fig. 2 Pathway analysis results of the hypothetical model featured with the standardized regression
coefficients (β) with full sample
Table 3 Fit indexes of the model and the multi-group analysis
χ
2
/df SRMR AGFI NFI TLI CFI RMSEA (CI90)
Path model with full sample 0.96 .004 .995 .999 1.00 1.00 .000 (.000 ~ .074)
Multi-group analysis
Unconstraint 2.63 .015 .975 .997 .980 .998 .036 (.000 ~ .076)
Weight constraint 10.04 .050 .907 .946 .891 .951 .085 (.070 ~ .102)
Model comparison 12.16 (p< .01)
Rachmatullah and Ha Asia-Pacific Science Education (2019) 5:19 Page 11 of 17
Discussion and conclusion
Many studies have reported that the COLS, ALS, and self-efficacy in learning science
are correlated each other as supported with an acceptable statistical model (e.g., Shen
et al. 2016; Tsai et al. 2011; Zheng et al. 2018). However, most of those studies used
Taiwanese and/or Chinese students as the subjects of the reviewed study. As the Shin
et al. (2018), Rachmatullah et al. (2018b) and Lee et al. (2008) study stated that students
from different cultures may have different affective constructs in learning science, thus
the current study attempted to confirm whether the acceptable statistical model of an
inter-correlation between the COLS, ALS, and self-efficacy in learning science is also
found to exist, by using samples from other countries, such as from Indonesia and
Table 4 The comparison of every paths standardized βvalues for both countries
Paths Standardized βvalues z-score
Indonesia Korea
Reproductive Surface Approach .27** .40** 3.41**
Constructivist Deep Approach .61** .49** 1.51
Reproductive Deep Approach .11** .10** 4.24**
Constructivist Surface Approach .08 .03 0.65
Constructivist Self-efficacy .22** .08* 2.65**
Deep Approach Self-efficacy .35** .73** 5.63**
Surface Approach Self-efficacy .10** .04 1.55
Notes: ** p-value < .01; * p-value < .05; no mark p> .05
Fig. 3 The comparison between Indonesian and Korean's path analyses
Rachmatullah and Ha Asia-Pacific Science Education (2019) 5:19 Page 12 of 17
Korea. Based on the findings, the current study found that the three constructs were
indeed correlated with each other, and conclusively supported with good and accept-
able model indices. This suggests that the model of inter-correlation of the three inves-
tigated constructs is stable among Asian samples, both from a low and a high achiever
scientific literacy achievement status.
By way of making sense of the results computed through a multi-group analysis, it
may be determined that the Korean high school students tend to be more reproducing
oriented when learning science as compared to the Indonesian students. This was
shown by the results that the path weight (Table 4) from the reproductive conceptions
to the surface approach was significantly higher in the model of the Korean students
than in the Indonesian students. This result suggests that the Korean high school stu-
dents are prone to conceive science learning as memorizing, testing and practicing and
may influence the students such as to make them use more surface approach in learn-
ing science than with similarly situated and aged Indonesian students. Perhaps this is
resulted from the societal factor of Korea, and from the Korean culture that is specific
to Korea. As Anderson and Kohler (2013) stated that Korea now is facing a
phenomenon called Education Fever,meaning that in the broadest sense, the Korean
people are eagerly working to pursue the best quality of education as they could for
their children, and that the high school level is considered as the door for them to get
the best education in the form of launching towards going to the best universities that
are socially recognized, as located anywhere in the world. Many Korean parents put
much effort to assist the efforts for their children to be accepted, enrolled, and eventu-
ally graduated from those kinds of universities. One of the efforts used by parents is to
register their children in several non-formal academic institutions, in order that their
children can study more during after school hours and have a higher opportunity to
obtain better scores on the required standardized testing given to all students. Thus, it
may stimulate Korean high school students to learn science in a more simple way such
as memorizing and practicing, in order that they could be more familiar with the prob-
lems that may be offered later in a test, to increase their knowledge base and allow the
students to easily obtain a better score. Moreover, as Ji (2010) stated that in many
schools in East Asian countries, including Korea, the common practice of showing the
students scores and ranks to the interested public, at least in their internal environ-
ment, is stressful and this may contribute to the increase of a students anxiety that will
be an influence on learning. This type of pressure may offer students more incentive to
concentrate on their studies and make them more focused on obtaining a higher rank
in school, rather than obtaining more meaningful learning in the general sense of
obtaining an education. As Entwistle and Ramsden (1983) stated that having more
anxiety and relying much more on the syllabus are the main traits of the identified
reproducing oriented students.
In terms of the Indonesian students, the model showed that the Indonesian high
school students had positive paths from the constructivist and reproductive concep-
tions to deep approaches. This suggests that the Indonesian high school students are
likely to have mixed conceptions of learning science and use deep approaches when
processing science tasks. In other words, they conceive that learning science is both ac-
cumulating knowledge and giving them more value in their life. This mixed conception
may be originated from their science learning experiences. Given that from 2013
Rachmatullah and Ha Asia-Pacific Science Education (2019) 5:19 Page 13 of 17
Indonesia has implemented a new science curriculum with an emphasis on the use of
meaningful science teaching and learning in order to improve Indonesian students
achievements in international assessment programs; this is a meaningful assessment of
the new learning focus initiated in Indonesia. However, science teaching and learning
activities in Indonesian schools before 2013 were still implementing the traditional
methods, as explained in the literature review part regarding the meaning of Guru.
Through a transition from the older curriculum to the new curriculum 2013, teachers
may not be able to adapt as easily, whereby they may use the mixed teaching methods
in an effort to manage the implementation to the new systems being launched in that
country. Consequently, students conceived learning science in mixed ways. Based on
Entwistle and Ramsden (1983), these traits may refer to achieving orientation, at least
partially, meaning that the Indonesian high school students are prone to be aware of
the science curriculum requirements, and they tend to process it in several approaches.
The findings (Table 4and Fig. 3) of Korean and Indonesian students still partially
endorsing traditional approach may be explained through what sociologist of Asian
education called as unconditional obedience to authority(Liu 1998, p. 5). The
phenomenon of students obeying what parents and teachers ask is considered as a
typical issue in sociology of Asian education. Asian students are taught to obey what
older people, including parents and teachers, are saying without intervening by students
own thoughts. Therefore, it may result the on Asian students endorsing more repro-
ductive conceptions and traditional approach for science learning compared to students
in Western culture, as what Forestier (1998) found.
If Korean students are prone to be more academic-grade oriented, Indonesian stu-
dents are prone to be more non-academics oriented. The Indonesian students perceive
that having achievement in non-academic fields, such as extracurricular activities, is
also considered as honorable endeavors in life. Based on Swadener and Soedjadi (1988),
Indonesian parents, teachers, and society support every students activities if the acti-
vities could give them some achievements in their life. Therefore, it may be the reason
why Indonesian high school students tend to be more achieving oriented, as compared
to being more academically oriented (as the Korean students appear to be according to
our research in this study).
The findings of the current study are likely different to predictions based on the PISA
or TIMSS results (Mullis et al. 2016; OECD 2016) in which Korea as a high achiever of
scientific literacy and was predicted to have a better learning orientation than
Indonesia. Perhaps the participants level of education impacts this finding. As most of
the students participating in the PISA are in the middle school level, and in case of the
Koreans, they still do not have much pressure and anxiety, so that they can learn
science in the funway, make them becoming more valuing science and learn it
in meaningful way, leading to making them have higher scientific literacy score at
the time of testing and scored ratings. However, in the high school level, pressure
and anxiety are higher than in the middle school level, and for this reason they
tend to be what has been explained above in regard to stressors and pressures
noted by students at the high school level, who are focused and intent on
securing a place at a formidable university. Thus, as what Watkins and Biggs
(1996) stated, that the magnitude of pressure and anxiety that students have is
significant to make them value the relevant teaching and learning activities,
Rachmatullah and Ha Asia-Pacific Science Education (2019) 5:19 Page 14 of 17
especially in science, it is significant that students will focus their attention for
improving grades for this reason.
The findings from the current study also suggest that nurturing students to be en-
gaged in using the noted deep approaches when they are learning science, is a method
to assist positively influencing their science self-efficacy. This finding is in line with pre-
vious studies (Bandura 1977; Robnett et al. 2015; Zeldin et al. 2008; Zheng et al. 2018).
However, a multi-group analysis showed that the magnitude effects of the students
who did use the deep approach in learning science to their self-efficacy were found
significantly different between Indonesian and Korean students as shown in Table 4.It
can be seen from Table 4that once the Korean high school students have engaged in
the use of the deep approach in learning science; they are predicted to have higher
science self-efficacy than the Indonesian students. As Zeldin et al. (2008) and Glynn
et al. (2011) study stated, it is relevant that science self-efficacy positively influences
internal motivation and scientific literacy. Thus, it is advisable for the Korean science
teachers to consider nurturing their students to be engaged in using the deep
approaches for better academic outcomes for the students. Additionally, it may be
considered as an artifact of the otherwise low endorsement of the deep approach in
learning science in which that only few Korean students endorsed a deep learning
approach strongly, and those who did may be an atypical in the Korean context.
In terms of the result from the Indonesian samples, as they tend to be more achieving
oriented and Entwistle and Ramsden (1983) indicated that the student with this orienta-
tion might have disorganized studying methods, and this also impacts their self-efficacy.
As the current study found that even though Indonesian students tend to use the deep
approach in science learning, but it does not profoundly impact their self-efficacy. It is
advisable for the Indonesian science teachers to decrease the use of traditional teaching
methods, and move forward to use entirely meaningful teaching methods. Therefore, the
more impact on their science self-efficacy exerting from the deep approach would be
achieved. Additionally, this may be the impact of overconfidence bias, as shown in the
recent study conducted by Rachmatullah and Ha (2019). Further analysis and study are
needed to understand more about this assumption.
Acknowledgements
We wish to express our gratitude to the students who participated in this study as well as the colleagues who
supported it. We also thank Dr. Sariwulan Diana from Indonesia University of Education for her continued assistance
and encouragement throughout this research. Finally, we would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their
helpful suggestions and feedback.
Authorscontributions
The first author, AR, conducted the research project and drafted the manuscript. The second author, MH, made
contributions to the conception and design of the study. Both authors read and approved the final manuscript.
Authorsinformation
Arif Rachmatullah is a Ph.D. student in the Department of STEM Education at North Carolina State University. His
concentration is in Science Education. He received his Master of Education in Science Education from Kangwon
National UniversityKorea and Bachelors degree in Biology Education from Indonesia University of Education (UPI). He
is particularly interested in science assessment and research instrument development and validation, confidence in
science learning, cognitive biases, computational thinking and modeling, and cultural aspects of science learning.
Upon being a doctoral student, he has been working on the projects around the development and implementation
of computational scientific modeling curriculum.
Minsu Ha Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Science Education at Kangwon National University (KNU), Republic of
Korea. His research interests include biology education, science motivation, assessment and learning process in science
education.
Rachmatullah and Ha Asia-Pacific Science Education (2019) 5:19 Page 15 of 17
Funding
Not applicable
Availability of data and materials
The datasets generated and/or analyzed during the current study are not publicly available due to ethical
considerations. The data is not available for sharing due to the confidentiality clause included in the informed consent
for the study.
Ethics approval and consent to participate
The data collected from this project has obtained the necessary clearance from the schools, guardians and the
students involved in the study.
Consent for publication
The authors agree that this article will be published in the APSE journal.
Competing interests
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
Author details
1
Department of STEM Education, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA.
2
Division of Science Education,
Kangwon National University, Chuncheon-si, Gangwon-do, Republic of Korea.
Received: 31 May 2019 Accepted: 13 November 2019
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Rachmatullah and Ha Asia-Pacific Science Education (2019) 5:19 Page 17 of 17
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In studies of the language-learning strategies used by Chinese learners, rote learning (RL) is often the main subject, linked to the legacy of Confucianism, which has been influential for 2500 years. In both Western and Eastern cultures RL is seen as mechanical repetition (Biggs, 1997; Parry & Su, 1998): (usually disapproving) memory or habit, rather than understanding. To learn something by rote, or rote learning, means learning something in order to be able to repeat it from memory rather than learning it in order to understand it. (Cambridge International Dictionary of English, 1995: 1235)