Students are exposed to vast amounts of information and knowledge that is rapidly changing. This exposure requires them to be adaptive, that is, to constantly adjust their thinking, behavior, and even their affect to successfully solve information-rich and knowledge-lean problems. Considering these developments, the purpose of the present study is twofold: First, it is aimed at exploring the link between students’ beliefs about their adaptability in an ever-changing world and their beliefs about the changing nature of scientific knowledge, thus linking two educationally relevant belief systems. Second, this study further explores validity issues related to the well-established and commonly used “Epistemological Beliefs about the Development of Scientific Knowledge (EBDE)” scale. Performing structural equation modeling on a large-scale data set of 1,662 Norwegian tenth-grade students, we estimated the correlations among different aspects of adaptability (i.e., cognitive-behavioral and affective-emotional adaptability) and EBDE. Moving beyond these correlations, we tested whether students’ perceived adaptability had an impact on the functioning of EBDE items by means of moderated factor analysis. Our analyses revealed that adaptability was associated with sophisticated EBDE in science, and the EB scale functioned differently with respect to different adaptability scores. The results of this study indicate that students perceive the development of scientific knowledge through the lenses of their own adaptability. Furthermore, the differential functioning of the EBDE scale challenges its validity.
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