Does school motivation change over secondary school years?

Year: 2001

Author: Yeung, Nancy Tsui Yee

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

A total of 199 students from a school in Hong Kong responded to 25 items in a survey. Principal components analysis found 4 school motivation factors consistent with the Task, Effort, Competition and Praise scales of the McInerney et al. (1997) Inventory of School Motivation, 1 education aspiration factor and 1 career aspiration factor. The correlations indicated significant relations between the motivation factors and the aspiration factors. A path model applying a structural equation modeling approach found that Task, Effort and Competition orientations had relatively stronger impacts on education aspirations whereas Task and Praise had stronger impacts on career aspirations. Analysis of variance found that grade 7 students had significantly higher Task, Effort and Praise scores and higher career aspirations than students from grades 9 and 11. The drastic drop from grade 7 of motivation scores--especially Task and Effort, both pertaining to a mastery orientation dimension that has been assumed to be a major driving force for excellence—calls for urgent attention to student motivation in junior secondary classes.