Primary and secondary school students’ academic motivation and achievement in math and Slovene language  [presentation, ppt, 245 kB]

Peklaj C., Puklek Levpušček M.
First author's affiliation: Department of Psychology, Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia

The aim of the study was to examine different aspects of students’ academic motivation and its effects on students’ achievement in two different school subjects (math and Slovene language). The sample consisted of 470 students (321 boys and 239 girls) who attended the seventh grade of the primary school and 437 students (176 boys and 262 girls) who attended the third grade of the secondary school in the school year 2006/07. Students’ academic motivation in math and Slovene language was assessed by different scales of PALS (Midgley et al., 2000): school related beliefs and strategies (academic self-handicapping strategies, scepticism about the relevance of school for future success), personal achievement goal orientations (mastery, performance-approach and performance-avoidance) and academic self-efficacy. Students’ grades in the previous academic year and their final grades in both subjects were also collected. The results showed negative and low correlations between self-handicapping and scepticism and achievement in both subjects in primary and secondary school students. Patterns of correlations between achievement goal orientations and self-efficacy and achievement in math and Slovene language were different for primary and secondary school students. Further analyses showed that students’ previous achievement was the best predictor of student current achievement at both school levels and in both subjects. In addition, school related beliefs and motivational dimensions added significantly to the prediction of the final grades. Among the motivational dimensions, self-efficacy was a significant predictor for the primary students’ final grades in math and Slovene language. On the other hand, mastery goal orientation significantly predicted the secondary students’ final grades.