Motivation at school : differentiation between and within school subjects matters in the prediction of academic achievement

Authors: Guay, FrédéricBureau, Julien S.
Abstract: School motivation is a multidimensional concept. It can be qualitatively defined by various sources of regulation as well as by the school subject to which it pertains. Based on self-determination theory, we postulate that motivation types vary in terms of quality (from lower to higher quality these types are: external, introjected, identified, and intrinsic) and that higher motivational quality predicts positive outcomes. In this study, we examined school subject differentiation in motivational quality and prediction patterns of academic achievement. Results from bi-factor ESEM examining differences in motivational quality within a subject (French, math, and English as a second language) showed that high general levels of motivation in math and English predicted achievement, and more so in the corresponding school subject. Intrinsic motivation for a school subject was generally positively associated with achievement, but only in the corresponding school subject, whereas introjected and external regulations for most school subjects negatively predicted achievement in the corresponding school subject, but also in the other ones. Results from bi-factor ESEM examining differences in motivation levels for distinct school subjects for a given motivation type showed that general levels of intrinsic and external regulations across school subjects predicted achievement positively and negatively, respectively, in all school subjects, while intrinsic motivation, but also identified regulation, had positive subject-specific associations with achievement. The specificity of intrinsic and identified motivations and non-specificity of introjected and external motivations point toward various recommendations in school motivation research and practice. While assessment of autonomous motivations should be subject-specific, assessment of controlled motivations could be general with no loss of predictive power.
Document Type: Article de recherche
Issue Date: 21 May 2018
Open Access Date: 21 May 2020
Document version: AM
This document was published in: Contemporary educational psychology, Vol. 54, 42-54 (2018)
Anadolu University
Alternative version: 10.1016/j.cedpsych.2018.05.004
Collection:Articles publiés dans des revues avec comité de lecture

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