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Session Overview
PAP-13: Scales and Development of Goal Orientation
Time: Wednesday, 29/Aug/2012: 3:30pm - 5:00pm
Session Chair: Marina Lemos, Universidade do Porto
Location: 311


Development of motivation in secondary education: Effects of learning environments

Marie-Christine Opdenakker, Alexander Minnaert, Kim Stroet

University of Groningen, Netherlands, The

Research has shown that the motivation of students changes during their secondary education period. Several studies have indicated that, on average, students’ motivation decreases. However, there are also some indications that this trend is not inevitable and that students’ learning environment (LE) could play an important role. In the current study, students of pre-vocational education were followed from entrance to the end of their first year in secondary education. Attention was paid to students’ motivation as well as characteristics of their LE. A total of 960 students, 20 math classes and 20 Dutch classes belonging to 10 pre-vocational schools in The Netherlands participated in the study. Self-determination theory was used as the encompassing theoretical framework and guided the selection of motivational and LE characteristics. In addition, attention was paid to types of LE (LE based on social-constructivist ideas, LE based on traditional whole class instruction and direct instruction ideas, and LE with mixed characteristics). Multilevel modeling was used to analyze the data. Results indicated that the autonomous motivation of pre-vocational students, in contrast to students of academic tracks, increased during the first months of secondary education. This tendency was most pronounced for social-constructivist LE. Furthermore, the importance of prior to subsequent motivation differed between classes and LE characteristics (teacher involvement, and to a lesser extent also structure and autonomy support) could explain differences in the development of motivation. Additional analyses revealed that basic needs satisfaction was the main explanation for the effects of LE.

Pupils` Academic and Non-academic Trait and State Goals – Validation of a New Inventory

Kathrin Bürger1, Marold Wosnitza2, Peter Ludwig1, Manfred Schmitt1

1University of Koblenz-Landau, Germany; 2RTWH Aachen University, Germany

Achievement goal research revealed a broad disagreement regarding the conceptualization of goals as traits or states. It was assumed that each goal comprises both a trait and a state component. Trait goal-components are relatively stable characteristics whereas state goal-components react sensitive to contexts and may therefore fluctuate. This paper examined the validity and reliability of a measure of pupils` multiple trait and state goal-components (mastery, performance, affiliation, and work avoidance goals). In study 1, exploratory factor analyses indicated the construct validity of this inventory (N=206) subsequently to a multi-staged item-selection process. Study 2 was conducted with a longitudinal design. Pupils completed both trait as well as state questionnaires in different weeks (N=367). Measurements were repeated after a 12-weeks interval for each state and trait goals. State goals referred to a specific lesson whereas trait goals referred to school in general. The examination of the latent structures of the trait as well as the state goal-components confirmed a four-factor solution for both. Scale reliabilities were robust for all goal subscales. The correlations between trait as well as state goals and other state and trait measures proved the concurrent and discriminant validity of the inventory. Thus, it offers a brief, internally consistent and valid self-report measure of pupils` academic and non-academic state as well as trait goal-components. Theoretical benefits of investigating both goal-components were outlined for practitioners and for research. Since repeated state goal experiences are supposed to alter the trait goal, more research is necessary to explore antecedents of state goals.

Analysis of the evolution and adaptability of students’ multiple goal profiles at the transition from compulsory to secondary education

Teresa Goncalves1, Marina Lemos2, Markku Niemivirta3

1Polytechnique Institute of Viana do Castelo, Portugal; 2University of Porto, Portugal; 3University of Helsinki, Finland

Student’s goal priorities are presumed to modify throughout schooling, as a function of individual development and of changes in the school context factors. Yet, little is still known about the development of student’s goal along schooling, and much less about whether and how whole, complex profiles of multiple goals change as students move on to higher grade levels.

The present study analyzed, within a longitudinal design, the evolution of student’s multiple goal profiles (composed by three achievement goals – mastery, performance approach, and performance-avoidance goals - and two social goals – prosocial, and social responsibility goals) at the transition from compulsory to secondary education. , trying to identify patterns of continuity and of typical changes.

Moreover, considering that the beneficial effects of particular goal orientations may depend on the types and demands of the instructional contexts and activities (Midgley, Kaplan & Midleton, 2001) this study also analyzed the differential adaptability of the diverse goal profiles to the different school-levels. The adaptability of the various goal profiles were examined in relation to motivation (students’ control beliefs, and engagement) and to academic achievement outcomes.

This study complements existing research on mean-level changes of separate goals, by examined stability and change in student’s multiple goals profiles (rather than single goals).

Findings pointed mainly to stability over time, but also revealed some “typical” changes. Finally the study highlighted potentially at-risk goal profiles predicting school drop-out.

A latent profile analyses of students’ multiple goals, and their relation with motivation, engagement, and achievement

Marina Lemos1, Teresa Goncalves2, Markku Niemivirta3

1Universidade do Porto, Portugal; 2Polytechnique Institute, Viana do Castelo, Portugal; 3University of Helsinki, Finland

In recent years, goal research has advocated the adoption of a multiple goal approach for a more holistic understanding of student’s motivational orientations and of its effects (Pintrich, 2000). However, the multiple goal perspective has concentrated on analyzing the effects of interactions of separate goals (variable-centered approaches). A few studies have examined combinations of individual goals (person-centered approaches), but have typically circumscribed the analysis to pre-defined patterns (median-split techniques) of only two achievement goals (usually mastery, and performance-approach goals).

The present study extended multiple goal research by using an emergent, person-centered approach to investigate how various types of achievement goals – mastery goals, performance-approach and performance-avoidance goals – and of social goals – pro-social and social-responsibility goals – combine to produce distinct motivational profiles.

Additionally, the authors evaluated the external validity of the profiling solution and the adaptability of the various profiles through analyzing their relations with different educational outcomes, including students’ motivation (control beliefs, and engagement) and academic achievement.

Latent profile analysis revealed six significantly distinct goal profiles that were differentially related to students’ school-related motivational beliefs. The inclusion of social goals allowed a new and more differentiated understanding of student’s goal profiles, namely revealing diverse pathways that may foster school involvement.

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