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Session Overview
POS-9: Motivation in Classroom and School
Time: Thursday, 30/Aug/2012: 10:30am - 11:30am
Location: 0.254


Risk and protective factors for school alienation

Michaela Katstaller, Tina Hascher

Paris Lodron University Salzburg, Austria

Recent studies on school alienation highlight that alienated students leave school with multiple negative experiences including high academic failure, low self-esteem, amotivation in further academic qualification and a life-long aversion to institutionalized learning processes (Hadjar & Lupatsch, 2010; Hascher & Hagenauer, 2010). Because of the restricted comparability between previous studies´ results, there is the need for an integrated approach with regard to risk and protective determinants for the cause of school alienation. The main research interest is to specify the characteristics of educational and social learning environments that are significant for the prevention and reduction of alienation from school of early adolescents.

The current study aims at identifying influential factors that predict school alienationfrom grades 5 to 7 (cross-sectional design). We expect that the prevalence of school alienation depends on the individual school´s achievement level during early adolescence. Furthermore, we assume that students´ low social statusalso accounts for school alienation. More specifically, our aims are fourfold: (1) the documentation of school-alienated development at two secondary schools with differentiated achievement levelsfrom grades 5 to 7, (2) the identification of relevant social determinants to be useful for school-alienated prevention, (3) the exploration of relevant scholastic risk and protective factors and (4) the determination of school and classroom factors modeled by multilevel procedures.

Project-Based Learning & Practice-Linked Identities: How students take up opportunities to engage in project-based classrooms

Gavin Tierney, Kendall Becherer

University of Washington, United States of America

Nasir & Hand (2008) talk about the need for three particular practices/opportunities to exist for students to engage meaningfully: “(a) access to the domain, (b) opportunities to take on integral roles, and (c) opportunities for self-expression in the practice” (p. 143). Project-based curricula enact these opportunities, working under the premise that project-based curricular designs are more engaging and thus create deeper learning. This study looks at how, in practice, students engaged in an Advanced Placement (AP) project-based classroom. We look at the ways that not only opportunities for engagement are afforded by the course structure, but how those opportunities for engagement were taken up in a classroom community of practice (Wenger, 1998) in which students and teachers enacted particular norms, roles, and promoted identities. This study examines how the three aspects of engagement-promoting practices identified by Nasir and Hand (2008) were taken up by eight students in a project-based curriculum and enacted in a particular classroom that had multiple negotiated practices. Findings indicate that opportunities for engagement do not always lead to the types of engagement (Gresalfi & Barab, 2011) that are most valued in the course design. We discuss other factors that may need to be considered to promote consequential and critical engagement.

Emotions, Self-Concept and Perception of Classroom Environment: An Exploratory study with 7th and 8th graders

Maria João Abril, Francisco Peixoto

ISPA - Instituto Universitário, Portugal

In educational settings, the study of emotions has been much neglected (Pekrun et al., 2002; Schutz & Lanehart, 2002). Despite the relatively few research about this topic, emotions play an important role in education (Meyer & Turner, 2006). Research on emotions were mainly conducted with university students and relating it with motivational orientations. (Pekrun et al., 2006; Tyson et al., 2009) Little attention has been paid how learning environments relate to the experience of emotions. In this exploratory research we intend to extend the research on classroom emotions to younger students and to analyze the relationships between classroom emotions with self-concept and perception of classroom environment. Participants were 131 students from 7th and 8th grade. To collect data we used a Self-Concept and Self-esteem Scale (Peixoto & Almeida, 1999), a scale to assess the perception of math’s classroom environment (Math’s Classroom Environment Scale - Mata, Monteiro & Peixoto, 2010) and the section of Classroom Emotions of the Achievement Emotions Questionnaire (Pekrun & Goetz, 2005). Results show that self-concept is negatively related with negative emotions. Emotions are also related to the perception of classroom environment.

Student Perceptions of what Teachers Care About: Aggravating or Assuaging the Temptation to Cheat

Lynley H Anderman, Monica Kowalski, Heather S Dawson

Ohio State University, United States of America

Prevalence rates of student cheating and academic dishonesty have reached almost epidemic proportions. Although much available research has been conducted in university settings, cheating rates may peak during the high school grades. Motivation researchers have started to explore the instructional and motivational variables that are associated with students’ cheating. Both academic and social motivational characteristics of classrooms have been shown to predict cheating, however surprisingly little is known about students’ perceptions of their teachers’ behaviors and attitudes in relation to their own cheating. The current study explores high school students’ perceptions of the ways different dimensions of teachers’ instructional behavior either increase or decrease the likelihood of cheating in their classes.

We conducted in-depth semi-structured individual interviews with 39 students from three diverse high schools, including one suburban and one inner-city public school, and one private four-year Catholic high school. All interviews were conducted by trained research assistants during regular school hours. The interview protocol included open-ended questions organized into two major sections: general questions about students’ perceptions of cheating in their school, and more specific questions about their own participation in cheating.

Thematic coding revealed that perceptions of their teachers’ roles in student cheating reflected three overlapping, multidimensional themes: teacher caring about cheating, pedagogical caring, and interpersonal caring. These findings support theoretical models of the multidimensional nature of teachers’ instructional practice and behavior that supports student motivation and engagement (e.g., Anderman et al., 2011). The students’ reports also suggest specific modifications that teachers can implement to reduce student cheating.

Perceived classroom fear appeals: antecedents and motivational outcomes

Dave William Putwain1, Richard Remedios2

1Edge Hill University, United Kingdom; 2Durham University, United Kingdom

Classroom fear appeals refer to attempts by teachers to motivate students by highlighting the negative consequences of failure. Previous work had suggested that the appraisal of fear appeals as threatening predicts both performance-avoidance and mastery-approach achievement goals. In this study we examine two possible antecedents of the perception of fear appeals made prior to a high-stakes maths exam: the value of maths and maths self-efficacy. We also explore whether perceived fear appeals predict motivational outcomes based on the types of motivation proposed by self-determination theory: intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation and amotivation. Participants were adolescent secondary school children in their final year of compulsory education (aged 15-16 years) following the programme of study leading towards the General Certificate of Secondary education, the school leaving qualification in England and Wales. These are considered to be high-stakes examines in that they can and do influence access to future educational and occupational opportunities. Self-report data for perceived fear appeals antecedents (perceived value of maths and maths self-efficacy) were collected in December 2011 using a modified version of the Michigan Study of Adolescent Life Transitions scales (Eccles, O’Neill & Wigfield, 2005) and Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (Pintritch & DeGroot, 1990). Self-report data for perceived fear appeals in maths classrooms is being collected in January 2012 using the Teachers Use of Fear Appeals Questionnaire (Putwain & Roberts, 2009) and self-report data for motivational outcomes will be collected in March 2012 using a maths-specific version of the Academic Motivation Scale (Vallerand et al., 1992).

Test-taking motivation and math achievement

Christiane Penk, Alexander Roppelt

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany

In low-stakes assessments test-taking motivation is an important issue. Only if students are motivated to make full effort throughout the entire test session, the validity of test results is unobscured. Currently there are no well-founded theories of situation-specific test-taking motivation in low-stakes context. But a practical way out is the application of the expectancy-value model (Eccles & Wigfield, 2002; Wise & DeMars, 2000), which originally provides a solid foundation to measure motivation as a trait. Using factor analyses we seek a transfer of this theoretical approach to the situation-specific test-taking motivation.

Beyond this theoretical problem there are also practical ambiguities. One ambiguity alludes to the relation of test motivation and performance, which is still unclear, especially in low-stakes tests. Eklöf (2007, 2008) found a significant but rather low correlation between mathematics performance and motivation, but in other studies no relation was detected (O’Neil, Sugrue & Baker, 1995/1996, Baumert & Demmrich 2001). Therefore we examine whether test motivation can make a contribution to inter-individual differences in math achievement if the grade and the type of school are taken into account. For this research question, a multiple regression analysis is conducted.

Reasons for and against reading as leisure time activity in primary school students

Elisabeth Schüller, Stephan Kröner

Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany

Reading literacy is one of the most important prerequisites for the participation in cultural, political and social life. Reading literacy is acquired mostly at school. However, for an optimal development, additional leisure time reading activities are beneficial. Regarding reading activities of primary school students, many studies concerning single predictors such as general reading motivation are already available. Nevertheless, studies that systematically analyze reasons for and against reading activities in leisure time are still lacking. Precondition for such research is the availability of adequate research instruments. Thus, we used the theory of planned behaviour (Ajzen, 1985) with its predictors attitude toward the behaviour, subjective norm and perceived behaviour control as a framework for scale development. Based on this theory, N = 17 primary school students were interviewed regarding reasons for and against reading as leisure time activity. The interviews were analyzed referring to Mayring´s qualitative content analysis (Mayring, 2008). A deductive-inductive procedure was applied to generate the categories. From this elicitation study, a fine-grained picture of the reasons for and against reading as leisure time activity emerged. Cohen´s kappa of the developed set of categories was κ = .94. In a subsequent pilot study, the newly developed questionnaire scales were examined with N = 224 primary school students. The internal consistencies of the questionnaire scales were acceptable (α ≥ .71). The predictors explained 32 % of the total variance in leisure time reading activities. The applicability of the developed questionnaire scales for a large scales design is discussed.

How Minimum Grade Goals and Self-Control Capacity Interact in Predicting Test Grades

Alex Bertrams

University of Mannheim, Germany

The present research examined the prediction of school students’ grades in an upcoming math test via their minimum grade goals (i.e., the minimum grade in an upcoming test one would be satisfied with). Due to its significance for initiating and maintaining goal-directed behavior, self-control capacity was expected to moderate the relation between students’ minimum grade goals and their actual grades. Self-control capacity was defined as the dispositional capacity to override, or alter, one’s dominant response tendencies. Prior to a scheduled math test, 172 vocational track students indicated their minimum grade goal for the test and completed a measure of self-control capacity. The test grade was assessed at a second time of measurement. As expected, an individual’s minimum grade goal more strongly predicted the actual test grade the higher an individual’s self-control capacity. Implications can be seen in terms of optimizing the prediction and advancement of academic performance.

Motivation and Emotion of Misjudged Second Language Learners

Detlef Urhahne, Sabine Blaurock

Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany

The study explores the consequences of teacher misjudgment on students’ motivation and emotion. The investigation was conducted with 246 sixth grade students and 13 English teachers in twelve German secondary schools. Students worked on a standardized English test and a self-description questionnaire about motivation and emotion. The English teachers assessed for each student in class test performance, motivation, and emotion on differentiated rating scales. Results reveal relatively high teacher judgment accuracy for test performance, expectancy of success, and academic self-concept. Teachers, however, were relatively inaccurate in judging students’ learning motivation, level of aspiration, learning enjoyment, and test anxiety. Underestimated students showed clearly higher test performance than overestimated students but less motivation and positive emotion. Teachers were thinking in the same way about students whom they underestimated in their abilities. Underestimated students, despite of having good test results, are at risk of loosing interest and motivation for an important school subject.

The impact of praise on Japanese students' motivation in the SLA classroom

Marie-Emilie Masson

Kyushu Sangyo University, Japan

According to L2 motivational theories, informational feedback (i.e., praise) delivered to students in the foreign language setting can increase or maintain motivation in the classroom. While feedback is one social aspect of the classroom which can affect student motivation, teacher-student interactions unique to a particular classroom setting are another. Teacher awareness of social constructs in the Japanese setting can help improve communication between teachers and students and promote student learning. However, social constructs will have different impacts on student motivation depending on the culture of origin. For instance, the term homete-nobiru (literally, to be complimented and grow) is one of these sociocultural constructs. The research will attempt to determine how teachers can be a part of students’ “growth” during the learning process by answering three questions: 1) How does praise influence students’ motivation in the Japanese setting? 2) What sort of changes took place because of the praise? 3) What aspects of Japanese culture influenced the students’ reaction? Students taking part in the study were first and second year university students enrolled in mandatory English classes. Over the course of one semester, a qualitative analysis using a three point data collection through classroom observation, student interviews and researcher notes, provided students’ perspectives relating to praise, motivation and Japanese culture in the language classroom. Preliminary conclusions include students’ self-reported beliefs about the positive impact of praise on their motivation, due in part to the sociocultural climate particular to the Japanese classroom setting.

Effects of portfolio based instruction on students’ competencies, motivation, and emotions

Susi Limprecht, Michaela Gläser-Zikuda

University of Jena, Germany


Portfolios are becoming increasingly popular in education but empirical studies regarding the effectiveness are rare. Simultaneously, it is meanwhile considered that emotion and motivation are relevant conditions for learning but there is not much empirical evidence about the effect of portfolios on student’s emotions and motivation. The intervention study “Promoting Students´ Learning Competencies based on the Portfolio-Approach”, founded by the DFG (German Research Foundation), examines the effects of a portfolio-approach on students´ cognitive and affective learning aspects in physics classrooms. The study examines whether portfolios have an influence on the competencies of students, as well as their emotions and motivation. In terms of the main characteristics of the portfolio based learning environment – such as competence-oriented learning demands, self-regulation demands, high quality interactions between learners and teachers, and between learners and learners, and finally continuous self-reflection - first results of the quasi-experimental intervention study show positive effects of the intervention regarding problem solving competencies and students’ emotions. The theoretical framework, method, and first results of the study will be presented.

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