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Students’ perceived values and costs of learning chemistry influence their performance and intentions of choosing chemistry-related majors or careers. Based on Situated Expectancy-Value Theory, this study adopted a mixed method approach to examine the conceptualization of values and costs among Chinese high school students and identify their relations with chemistry test performance across gender. Qualitative content analyses revealed that students’ perceived values for chemistry could be categorized into five broad categories: utility value, epistemic value, intrinsic value, aesthetic value, and social value. Chi-square tests and multidimensional scaling revealed that boys and girls perceived values and costs in different ways: relational utility value was more salient to boys while practical utility value and epistemic value were more salient to girls; Girls perceived greater distinctions among different types of values (i.e., epistemic- and emotional-related values) and costs (i.e., emotional and ego cost) than boys. Independent ttests showed that boys reported mostly higher values and lower costs than girls. Hierarchical multiple regression found that gender, intrinsic value, social value and cost significantly predicted students’ chemistry exam scores. In addition, the interaction between gender and social value was identified. This study highlights the complexity of perceived values and costs of learning chemistry and provide implications for developing activities or interventions that foster student engagement in chemistry learning.



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