Californian science students' perceptions of their classroom environments

P. den Brok, D. Fisher, T. Rickards, E. Bull

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This study utilised the What Is Happening In this Class (WIHIC) questionnaire to examine factors that influence Californian student perceptions of their learning environment. Data were collected from 665 USA middle school science students in 11 Californian schools. Several background variables were included in the study to investigate their effects on students’ perceptions, such as student and teacher gender, student ethnic background and socio-economic status (SES), and student age. Class and school variables, such as class ethnic composition, class size and school socioeconomic status were also collected. A hierarchical analysis of variance was conducted to investigate separate and joint effects of these variables. Results from this study indicate that some scales of the WIHIC are more inclined to measure personal or idiosyncratic features of student perceptions of their learning environment whereas other scales contain more variance at the class level. Also, it was found that different variables affect different scale scores. A variable that consistently affected students' perceptions, regardless of the element of interest in the learning environment was student gender. Generally speaking girls perceived their learning environment more positively than did boys.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)3-25
Number of pages23
JournalEducational Research and Evaluation
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2006

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