An investigation of the motivation of Vietnamese university students to learn English in the light of the Expectancy-Value model of academic motivation

Year: 2015

Author: Archer, Jennifer

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

How does the motivation to study English of Vietnamese university students, as assessed by expectancy-value theory, affect their performance in English and their willingness to undertake additional study (while at University and after graduation from University) to improve their English? What is the relative strength of expectancy and value variables in predicting these three variables?
The Expectancy-Value Model of motivation was developed by Eccles and colleagues (Eccles & Wigfield, 1992). Expectancy is a measure of students’ confidence that they can do a task successfully. Task value refers to reasons why students want to do the task. In the current study, five values were measured: (1) attainment value (I want to achieve highly on this task); (2) intrinsic value (I enjoy engaging in this task); utility or importance value (it is important for my future that I do well on this task); family honour (I want to bring honour to my family by doing this task, a new variable added for the current research study); and cost value (negative value – I will have to expend a lot of effort to do this task).
Approximately 1207 first-year students (50% males, 50% females) from three universities in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, completed a survey. Students were studying programs in business, engineering, and accountancy. They were required to attend an English class as part of their program.
In addition to demographic details, and items to measure expectancy and value measures, students were asked how likely they were to take an additional English class outside the university and how likely they were to take an English class after they graduated. Students were asked to allow the researchers access to marks for their English classes.
The SPSS statistical program has been used to analyse the data. Preliminary analyses have included scale development and stepwise multiple regressions to consider the relative importance of expectancy and value variables in predicting achievement in English classes, and willingness to take additional English classes. The main predictor of achievement was expectancy. The main predictor of willingness to take additional English classes was importance or utility value. These findings are similar to those of Eccles and Wigfield. Further analyses using Structural Equation Modeling will be undertaken, both on the sample as a whole and on the three universities separately.