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Session Overview
Session
POS-3: Academic Motivation in Higher Education
Time: Tuesday, 28/Aug/2012: 10:30am - 11:30am
Location: 0.254
n=60

Presentations

The role of public commitment in an academic context.

Nathalie Roland, Mariane Frenay

Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium

The transition from secondary school to post-secondary education is a key moment in students’ educational trajectories, as it requires them to make important study and career choices. In Belgium, while the access rate to higher education is about 56% for secondary education students. rate of failure of first year undergraduates is also quite high: 58.9% of the freshmen fail. Students who fail can start again their first year in the same study program or change their study choice. Even if changing from one study program to another is very easy, 77% of the students who fail, do persist in their first study choice (ETNIC, 2008).

Therefore, we would like to understand why students keep engaged to studies they have failed and/or which may not suit them. One explanation could be found in public commitment. Indeed, making a public commitment towards a behaviour or a goal reinforces the person’s commitment to this behaviour or goal (e.g. Debar & al., 2011; Nyer & Dellande, 2010). As a result, disengagement may become difficult.

Our research aims to investigate whether student’s public commitment in their studies impact the way students engage or disengage. It will be tested among students with a traditional academic trajectory but also among students who fail and either, start again with the same choice of study program or either choose another one. As the research is on its preliminary stage, we will specifically focus in this paper on theoretical framework and browse the intended research design.


How are academic emotions related to learning outcomes in a lecture context?

Elina Ketonen, Kirsti Lonka

University of Helsinki, Finland

Aim. This study explored the relationships between contextual academic emotions, challenge experienced in the task, sense of competence, self-study time, and study success on a student-activating lecture course. It was examined, what kinds of subgroups could be found to classify the participants according to their academic emotions, and how these groups differed in terms of invested self-study time and study success.

Method. The participants (n=107) were Finnish first-year teacher students in an educational psychology lecture course. The data were collected by using a questionnaire that measured academic emotions, challenge experienced, sense of competence, and self-study time five days before the final examination. Study success was assessed on the basis of the course examination, calling for understanding and application. Correlations among variables were measured, a step-wise cluster analysis and two ANOVA tests conducted.

Results. Interest, enthusiasm, sense of competence, and self-study time correlated positively with the grade awarded for the course. Three clusters (emotional profiles) were identified: engaged (36 %), unstressed (25 %), and anxious (39 %) student groups. Engaged students spent the most hours in self-study and received the best grades. Unstressed students were the least active in self-study and also achieved the lowest grades. Anxious students did not differ from the two other groups in terms of study success.

Conclusions. Contextual academic emotions play a role in successful studying. Interest and sense of competence were decisive variables in terms of successful studying during a student-activating lecture course. It appeared that being engaged was better than remaining unstressed.

Stories of Self and Academic Motivation

Margaret E. Sanders

The Ohio State University, United States of America

In this project, I explore the role of identity in students’ academic motivation, framing identity as narrative. For a self-story or narrative identity to feel coherent, past educational experiences and present academic motivation must fit logically together. Thus, by examining how students explain their past academic experiences we may be better able to understand their current academic motivation. To explore this potential, I focus on students who are likely to have incorporated many educational experiences into their narrative identities—college seniors in an honors program who have also recently completed applications to graduate programs. I will invite these students to give three different "tellings" of their self-stories: the first and second in interviews, one before and one after they receive their admissions decision, and the third in the form of the personal statements they submitted as part of these applications. Collecting three versions of students’ self-narratives will not only give me a richer picture of these students’ narrative identities, but will also allow me to explore how these identities—and the goals and motivation they imply—change to accommodate students’ admissions decisions. At the conclusion of this project, I anticipate a fuller understanding of these students’ self-narratives, a better sense of how educational experiences shape these stories, and a clearer idea of how this narrative identity shapes students’ goals. This richer perspective will contribute to the literature focused on identity and motivation, suggesting other processes to consider and other relationships to explore.

Who are the ones that put off what they hate doing? Task aversiveness and situation procrastination in procrastinators and non-procrastinators

Tatiana Malatincová

Masaryk University, Czech Republic

Task aversiveness plays an essential role in recent motivational explanations of procrastination (Steel, 2007; Steel & König, 2006). The concept of procrastination as regulatory failure presupposes that it is the inability to resist immediate temptations which prevents procrastinators from working on important, yet solely instrumental tasks which they find tedious and boring. An alternative perspective, however, would be that most college students, many of whom could be labelled “prototypical” procrastinators, do not enter a particular study programme for secondary purposes, but choose their subjects and courses freely and primarily out of interest. The effect of task aversiveness in chronic procrastinators should therefore be limited. To test this assumption, a group of college students of English (N=93), divided into procrastinators and non-procrastinators using Aitken Procrastination Inventory, gave information about how much time before the deadline they spent working on their own individual school tasks (written assignments or studying for tests) during the preceding exam period. After that, they indicated for each reported task their subjectively perceived level of procrastination, anxiety, and outcome quality, as well as the extent to which they found the task interesting or troublesome. Supplementary self-report measures of general attitude to academic tasks were also used. While there was no significant difference between procrastinators and non-procrastinators in any of the aversiveness scores used, positive correlations between task procrastination and task aversiveness were found mainly among non-procrastinators, especially concerning written assigments. This indicates that chronic procrastinators probably delay work on both interesting and troublesome tasks to a similar extent.

Validation of the MUSIC Model of Academic Motivation Inventory: A Measure of Students’ Motivation in College Courses

Brett D. Jones, Gary E. Skaggs

Virginia Tech, United States of America

The purpose of this series of studies was to develop a self-report inventory that measures college students beliefs related to the components of the MUSIC Model of Academic Motivation (Jones, 2009). The MUSIC model consists of five key components (eMpowerment, Usefulness, Success, Interest, and Caring) that were derived from research and theory as ones that are critical to students’ engagement in academic settings. The purposes of Study 1 were to develop the wording of the initial items and assess the content validity through student and expert evaluation. The purpose of Study 2 was to pilot test the items by administering them to 155 undergraduate students. The purpose of Study 3 was to conduct a field test, which was carried out with 338 undergraduates who completed an online questionnaire. The purpose of Study 4 was to compare the scores obtained from the MUSIC inventory to those in other scales that measure constructs similar to the MUSIC components and constructs that the MUSIC components have been shown to predict. Our analyses included exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis, classical item analysis, and the calculation of Rasch measurement scales. The final version consists of 26 items: five empowerment items, five usefulness items, four success items, six situational interest items, and six caring items. Results support the validity of scores produced by the MUSIC Model of Academic Motivation Inventory for use with college students. This inventory could be useful to instructors and researchers interested in assessing the effects of instruction on students’ motivation.

Motivation, Learning Approaches and use of Self-Handicapping Strategies: Relations with Academic Achievement in Higher Education Students

Rita Wahl, Francisco Peixoto

ISPA - Instituto Universitário, Portugal

The present research aimed at analyzing the relationship between academic results and motivation in higher education students, as well as student's approaches to learning and the use of self-handicapping strategies. 552 higher education students participated in the study, coming from two high education institutions in Lisbon, 381 engineering's undergraduates and 171 psychology's undergraduates, their ages ranging from 18 to 58 years.

The Motivational Orientation Scale (1997; Peixoto, Mata & Monteiro, 2008), the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ de Pintrich, Smith, Garcia & McKeachie, 1991; Melo, Gonçalves, Pile, Sá, & Carvalho, 2006) and the self-handicapping scale of Martin (1998; Borralho, 2005) were used to collect data about students’ academic behavior.

The results seem to support the relationship between academic achievement and intrinsic motivation, task orientation, avoidance orientation, self-defeating ego orientation, self-handicapping strategies and deep learning strategies (elaboration and critical thought). Globally, we can assert that students’ who use deep learning strategies (cognitive and metacognitive) more frequently, are task oriented and use self-handicapping strategies less frequently are more proned to academic success in higher education.

Rationality and Control in Academic Achievement Motivation

Ionut-Dorin Stanciu1, Nicolae Nistor2,3

1Babes-Bolyai University, Romania; 2Ludwig-Maximilians Universität München, Germany; 3Hiroshima University, Japan

The role of one’s appraisal of his or her own motivated behavior, together with the underlying cognitive factors, such as causal attributions, is firmly established. However, researches aimed at clarifying how the individual’s irrational beliefs influence one’s motivation, and what role the individual’s sense of primary or secondary control play in this interaction are still scares. We devised a transversal correlational study using data from 213 undergraduate students to develop a model using structural equations. The results show that mastery motivation correlates negatively with irrationality and positively with both primary and secondary academic control whereas performance motivation correlates positively with both irrationality and primary control. The model accounts for 26% of the variance in mastery orientation motivation and 11% of the variance in performance orientation. As a consequence for educational research, the model allows for a considerable extension of the Rational Emotive Behavior as well as for its feasible integration with the bi-processual theory of control into the field of academic achievement motivation. As a consequence for educational practice, the research provides educators with the necessary insight into manipulating irrationality and control in order to orient mastery and/performance achievement motivation of their students.

Academically drowning: student academic disengagement at one American University.

Geoffrey L Collier

South Carolina State University, United States of America

Although the top American Universities and select colleges have become increasingly competitive, 90% or more of postsecondary students in the U.S. attend less selective institutions. A number of books have decried a decline in standards therein. One critical problem is that students do not study very much. Research has shown that students study on average 12-15 hours per week, about half of similar estimates from 30-40 years ago.

This paper reviews pertinent evidence from one institution, South Carolina State University, an historically black institution of about 4500 students. Apparently, students are averaging only about 7 hours per week of study. Very few students are studying proactively on a regular basis, but instead, do virtually all work reactively, in response to an imminent deadline, frequently the next day. Other signs of general disorganization abound.

Although numerous books and articles have been raising the twin issues of poor academic preparedness and academic disengagement, the body politic seems not to grasp the profundity of the problem. There has been great emphasis on increasing high school and college graduate rates (e.g. the Gates foundation) but without a concomitant awareness that these efforts, coupled with the parlous state of public funding, may be diminishing standards.


Factors That Impact Students' Motivation, Instructor Ratings, and Course Ratings in an Online Course

Brett D. Jones

Virginia Tech, United States of America

The purpose of this study was to (a) examine the relationships among psychological factors, sex, and extraversion in a large online course, and (b) determine which psychological factors best predicts men and women’s effort, instructor rating, and course rating in a large online course. The MUSIC Model of Academic Motivation (Jones, 2009, 2010b) was used as a framework for this study because it consists of five components that have been derived from research and theory as ones that are critical to student engagement in academic settings, including: empowerment, usefulness, success, interest, and caring. Participants include about 500 undergraduate students who will complete an online questionnaire in the middle of an online “Drug Education” course. Instruments used to measure all of the constructs have been validated in prior studies. I will conduct a separate two-way ANOVA for each variable to determine whether there are differences for sex (females versus males), extraversion (extraverts, introverts, and ambiverts), or the interaction between sex and extraversion. I will use multiple regression to determine which of the MUSIC model components best predicts men and women’s effort, instructor rating, and course rating. The results will help educators and administrators better understand some of the factors that are important in motivating students and that affect students’ instructor ratings and course ratings in online college-level courses.

Influence of academic engagement on the relationship between social goals and academic achievement goals: A study of students’ achievements

Robin Ulriksen

Department of Educational Research, Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Oslo, Norway

This study we examine the relations between students’ academic achievement goals, social achievement, goals students’ engagement and exam grades. Engagement is related to students' effort to the extent to which they feels obliged to school-related activities (Skinner et al., 2009). It is expected that students that are both emotionally engaged (in relation to the teacher, fellow students and the subjects and the school) and behaviorally involved (involved in classroom activities, discussion and academic work outside hours) relates positive to approach-based goals, emotional disengagement (passivity, lack of inition, lack of effort) and behavioral disengagement (helplessness, coercion, exclusion and boredom) are expected to relate positive to avoidance-based goals (Elliot, Murayama & Pekrun, 2011; Fredericks et al., 2009; Ryan & Shim, 2006). Administered self-report questionnaire for first semester students (N=245) the results indicates that behavioral disengagement (p<.02) and emotional disengagement (p<.005) predicts students exam grades negatively when fully adjusted for gender, achievement self-avoidance, other-avoidance and social demonstration avoidance goal. Behavioral engagement (p<.05) are positive related to students exam grades when adjusted for gender, achievement task, self and other approach goals, and social development goals. Indicating that students who behave on-task, academic motivated and participants in class have an advantage also after controlling for achievement approach goals and social development goals. The results indicate that students with emotional distancing or showing passive behavior perform poorly also when controlled for other achievements and social avoidance goals. Students how shows academic initiative in class and on tasks have an advantage before students how are not showing it.

Development of students' motivation and emotions over the course of their studies

Anja Gebhardt, Taiga Brahm

University of St. Gallen, Switzerland

The proposed study investigates students' motivation and emotions and their development over time. It is guided by the following research question: How do students' individual dispositions for learning (i.e. students' motivation and emotions) differ in the various phases of their studies? Although motivational and emotional dispositions have regularly been analyzed in previous studies, their level in different study phases has hitherto not been examined in the higher education context, particularly not with a larger sample.

To determine students' motivations and emotions, a written survey was carried out in autumn 2010 in three different European universities with 2171 students participating.

Results showed that both extrinsic as well as intrinsic motivation for studying in general are quite high in all study phases. Interestingly, extrinsic motivation to study is the only variable decreasing significantly over time. The study also illuminated that students' learning is mainly determined by positive emotions (hope) while negative emotions (fear, boredom) are of less importance. Boredom does not vary significantly whereas hope increases and fear decreases significantly over time.

One important implication of the study for higher education faculty and administration is to reduce fear in the first semesters since it is clear that these negative emotions interfere with academic success. The study adds to the theoretical discussions on motivation and emotions in learning by providing first insights into the development of students' individual dispositions in higher education.



 
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