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The Influence of Gender and Interest on the Use of Learning Strategies in Biology Lessons

Ricarda Corinna, Svea Isabel,

Abstract: For biology students, the diversity, complexity, and abundance of content in this field yield a heavy study load. Hence, appropriate learning strategies are key in supporting learners’ academic success. In biology, the factors gender and interest hold a unique position within the natural sciences, as there is an academic imbalance to the disadvantage of male students. In the present study, we examined the influence of gender and interest as well as its interdependences on the students’ use of learning strategies for biology learning. A total of 180 seventh through tenth grade students (Mage=14.47; SD=1.35; 60% female) from four general-track secondary schools located in Germany participated in this study. Data on the students’ level of interest and the use of learning strategies in biology lessons were collected. We used multivariate analysis of covariance with the students’ age as the covariate to analyse our data. Results revealed a significant effect of gender on the students’ use of the learning strategies rehearsal, organisation, effort, and time management. With regard to elaboration and effort, the effects of interest were found to be significant. The gender gap regarding learning strategy use was narrower for students with high levels of interest. These findings might have implications for beneficial teacher behaviour in biology.

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